Jonathan Walker, director of policy, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The likely delay to the lifting of restrictions is another blow to those businesses who have been placed under the most severe strain over the past 16 months.
“The resilience and determination shown by those working in sectors such as leisure, culture and tourism has been incredible throughout the pandemic and I’m sure this will help them to ride out yet another period of restrictions. However, they still need the right level of support to ensure their businesses remain viable.
“We appreciate public health comes first and if this delay buys enough time for the vaccination programme to get on top of Covid once and for all then there’s every chance we’ll look back on it as a price worth paying. Nobody wants to see the reopening go into reverse.”