Derry Chamber is calling for urgent clarity and guidance for businesses on the issue of what is deemed ‘essential services’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent days, the debate around essential services has been widely raised with no further clarity emerging for businesses and employees.
Chief Executive of the Londonderry Chamber, Paul Clancy said: “The situation is getting more confusing by the day. We have had many businesses in the North West impacted because of this confusion. The supply chain to all essential services is broad and it incorporates a vast number of companies in many sectors.
“Take for example the food supply chain. That does not just consist of places that produce foodstuffs, but there is also a huge supply chain supporting it from those that produce agricultural products, oil companies for heating and keeping lorries on roads, food labelling and packaging, to distribution. If one of these links is broken, it will have an impact on the end product we have on our supermarket shelves.
“We must stop demonising businesses for trying to keep essential work going during this crisis and instead work with them to ensure they can keep the business going, whilst also ensuring the safety of employees.
“Maintaining essential supplies will protect public confidence that we can feed the nation whilst everyone else is told to stay at home and fight this virus.
“We urge the Executive to show leadership and work effectively with businesses and workers to outline what are essential businesses. The establishment of a forum on workplace safety is welcome but we need to see decisions and guidance. With every day that passes, more essential businesses are forced to close.”