RESILIENCE in the business community has been in abundance as they have faced head on the challenges created by the Covid 19 Pandemic.
One year on, Emma Mullen-Marmion, President Newry Chamber of Commerce &Trade, says continuing uncertainty still remains in the business community.
“When the first lockdown was announced, we never imagined that our people, our businesses, and our community would have been so badly affected by the coronavirus.
Regrettably, it has been a year of devastating consequences, with many deaths in our community, which brought heartache to so many families. This last year has been one of the most testing and challenging our businesses have had to face for many years, as it has been for the thousands of people they employ.
Little did we think that one year on, many of our shops and all the hospitality sector remains closed, and the way we do business has changed dramatically. As a business community we still face continuing uncertainty with the absence of clear dates for when most of our shops and the hospitality sector can reopen, and fears about future trading conditions.
In the past year, the economic support from our Executive has been positive, with rates and grants support for many businesses. The Furlough Scheme has been vital in securing many jobs and retaining skilled employees who would otherwise have been made redundant.
Our young people have and continue to suffer significantly from the economic impact of COVID-19. The Executive’s support for the Apprenticeship Scheme was welcome but in 2021 we need to continue this investment and support for our young people.
Resilience is in the DNA of Newry, and the Newry business community responded, adapted, and changed in exceptional ways. From adapting businesses to work from home, rallying to support our health service, and rapid digitalisation.
As we look to the future, it is this resilience and unique spirit of our business community that in the long term will rebuild our economy. We look forward to days in the hopefully not so distant future, when our community can return to life as it once was.”