THE announcement of a two week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, that is due to start today, has been devastating for many small local business owners.
Lisa Hetherington from Nor Lisa Fashion and Alterations in Enniskillen, one of the local businesses forced to close as they are deemed to be a close contact business, said she was “heartbroken” but not surprised by the previous four week circuit breaker, but was shocked at news of the latest lockdown and is now worried about her business’s survival.
Initially, Lisa was relieved some financial support had been announced for the businesses, even though the amount announced didn’t cover the business’s outgoings. However she said they had yet to even receive that payment.
“To date we have been paid zero of the money promised to help support our small business and ourselves alongside other local businesses are really struggling,” said Lisa.
Explaining the self-employed, especially those with relatively new businesses such as herself, have been entitled to less financial support than others, Lisa said last week’s announcement of the upcoming two week lockdown “right in the mouth of Christmas” was a harsh blow.
“My mouth dropped when I heard the news,” she said. “I knew another lockdown would have come eventually but never would I have thought it would come on this side of Christmas. We should be flat out but instead we are going to lose out on trade that we desperately need to survive.
“Myself and my business partner have not had any kind of proper wage since February. I have eaten threw all of my business and personal savings. Savings that should have went towards building and expanding our business, now we feel it is being torn down by selfish rash decisions.
“We honestly don’t know how much longer we can struggle like this.”
Lisa said those in power had “completely broken the trust” of the local business people who “have been messed around” since March.
“When you say you are “saving” Christmas with these new restrictions you have killed any chance of one for small businesses and self-employed,” she said.
“It’s not fair to let us pump money into our businesses to be able to safety trade at the busiest time of the year and let us waste time and energy making sure everything was set up to only be allowed to trade for one week.
“We are sick of empty promises. Never mind saving Christmas, what about saving local businesses?”
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