UK businesses gradually reopening after COVID closing: survey

LONDON (Reuters) – British businesses that temporarily closed during the coronavirus lockdown are gradually re-opening, a survey by the country’s statistics office showed as the government slowly lifts its restrictions.

Of businesses which took part in a survey by the Office for National Statistics in the second half of May and early June, 5% had started trading again within the prior two weeks and another 5% intended to restart trading within two weeks.

Nearly 80% had been trading for more than two weeks while 12% planned to remain closed.

About one in five businesses in Britain temporarily closed because of the lockdown, the ONS has previously found.

Britain’s government last month encouraged workers in manufacturing and construction to go back to their jobs and non-essential shops can reopen from next week.

The ONS said separately on Thursday that more than one-fifth of usual household spending had not been possible during the lockdown because of restrictions on activities such travel and eating out.

It also estimated that 39% of household spending on essentials could be subject to a payment holiday, equivalent to 173 pounds per week, potentially helping to soften some of the severe contraction in the economy caused by the lockdown.

Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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