There is no avoiding the worry and frustration facing businesses during this second lockdown. Given the current number of infections and hospital admissions, we knew that something was on the horizon, but that doesn’t lessen the blow.
These are very challenging times. Our community has shown before its strength of character and resilience to come through the other side and I believe we can do that again. The determination of businesses in Canterbury during the summer months leading into the autumn, to rebuild, to refocus and adapt to a changing landscape is a shining example of what can be done together, in partnership.
Locally, your BID will support you in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. We launched the new Canterbury Gift Card this week, the first card of its kind in Kent. Free for all BID businesses, the Canterbury Gift Card is a pre-loaded Mastercard that will be available for shoppers to buy online from 4 November as an easy Christmas gift for family, colleagues and teachers. The cards will be delivered by post in time for Christmas and we will be urging shoppers not to rush to Amazon during lockdown. The card features so many different retailers, you can effectively give someone a full day out in our beautiful medieval city with one card. It is like giving Canterbury as a gift.
Over 80 Canterbury businesses are signed up, and it is a great way to help people shop locally instead of buying generic online vouchers from Amazon or similar global retailers. It is an easy and positive way to support businesses during the global pandemic.
We know this time of year is so important for our business community and while we welcome the new grants and extended furlough scheme, we will also be calling on government for an effective track and trace system and for more clarity in its communication at every step of the way.
In the days and weeks ahead, our team will be working directly with our local, regional and national partners and Government to press the need for greater support so that businesses that contribute not just to the economy but to our communities, are supported in the right and proper way.
We are awaiting more detail from government on the extended furlough scheme and the new business grants, which will be administered through Canterbury City Council. Here is what we know now:
- Lockdown 2 Business Support (furlough and new grants)
- Bounceback Loans (deadline extended to 31 January 2021)
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (deadline extended to 31 January 2021)
As we have before, Canterbury BID will play a central role alongside our partners and stakeholders to help revitalise our city centre for the future. The BID team and Ambassadors will be here to support you – please do contact us with your concerns and ideas.