Date: 01/09/2020
Author: Joanne Lancaster
Company: The Nycomm Group

One of Bury’s leading business figures is warning that complacency over the spread of COVID-19 could seriously undermine the local economy.

Andrew Roberts, chair of the Bury Business Leadership Group, says rising infection rates across the borough mean businesses should take the threat of a local lockdown seriously.

He cautioned: “With six consecutive weeks of rising infection rates, the direction of travel is really alarming. Bury businesses need to be absolutely meticulous in following national and local restrictions. Otherwise they might face much more stringent measures, a local lockdown that could harm their businesses and the wider local economy.”

Mr Roberts, who is also local Bury president of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and managing director of locally headquartered technology company, Avoira said that neighbouring economies could benefit if Bury doesn’t get its act together.

“Other Greater Manchester towns have reduced or maintained low infection rates. Trade will move to those boroughs if they see restrictions lifted whilst Bury goes into lockdown,” he explained.

“To stop this happening, businesses must ensure they have and enforce rigorous Covid safety protocols. These might include implementing segregation in communal areas like canteens and smoking areas, one-way systems, temperature testing and sanitation stations. If such measures keep a company, and Bury, in business, that’s an investment, not a cost.”

He said that whilst the reasons are unclear as to why Bury’s rates continue to rise whilst others fall, he believes that here and elsewhere people are becoming complacent.

“Complacency seems to have set in with people feeling that the danger of infection is over, or that, if they’re young and healthy, it doesn’t matter if they pick up the virus. That is so, so wrong.”

“Whilst it’s true the virus presents much lower risk to younger people the danger - the very real danger - is that they spread it to the more vulnerable in the community. The means of transmission are varied, so they can do that in the workplace, socialising and by taking at home."

Mr Roberts says Avoira has invested in a variety of measures to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 spread. These include providing PPE, widespread sanitising facilities, facilitating and promoting social distancing and creating a bubble for its business critical warehousing staff.

It has also turned to its own technology solutions by installing high-temperature detection cameras across Avoira’s sites in Bury, Salford, Bristol and Leeds.

It has provided the same technology to a number of local and national organisations, including Bury’s Met arts centre, further and higher education institutions and Manchester’s Albert’s Schloss beer house.