Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Chamber

Firms across Coventry and Warwickshire are ready to return to business – but will need clear guidance and continued support from Government, according to the Chamber.

The British Chambers of Commerce’s latest Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker has revealed that the majority of firms surveyed between April 29 and May 1 can be back operating in three weeks or less once lockdown is loosened.

Smaller businesses may be able to restart operations more quickly. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents employing fewer than 10 people say they would need less than one week, compared to half (50 per cent) of respondents with more than 50 employees.

Of all the businesses surveyed, 25 per cent said they would not need any notice, 35 per cent said they would need less than a week’s notice, 29 per cent said they would need one to three weeks’ notice, seven per cent said they would need three to six weeks’ notice and three per cent said they would need more than three weeks’ notice.

Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of business-to-business service firms said that they would need less than one week or no notice to restart operations, compared to 50 per cent of business-to-consumer service firms.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s encouraging that the majority of companies feel ready to restart but, as the survey shows, that confidence does depend on the size of business and the sector in which they operate.

“What is abundantly clear is that firms will still need Government help because the economy is not going to get back to normal immediately and support – such as the Job Retention Scheme which has been so vital in helping firms survive – will be crucial to the restart and recovery process.

“And companies – and their customers – will need very clear communication on what rules they must follow in order to give everyone the confidence to get back to business and also to ensure there isn’t a second spike in the virus as people’s health remains the number one priority.”

BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said: “Over the coming days, business communities will require clear forward guidance from government on plans to re-open parts of the economy, transport networks, schools and local services.

“Our results show that businesses’ ability to restart quickly varies by company size, and by sector.

“For these reasons and more, it will be crucial for the government to maintain and evolve support for businesses, to give as many firms as possible the chance to navigate a phased return to work.

“While the fight against Coronavirus must remain the top priority, the communication of plans for the easing of restrictions must also begin immediately. The Chamber Network will continue to work constructively with governments across the UK to plan a coherent path forward.”