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Safety first for Dorset businesses at first physical networking event

By Karolina Lasinska
19 July 2021

Dorset businesses remain cautious about Covid ahead of the full reopening of the economy on 19 July, according to survey new results. 

The concerns were revealed in polls held during Dorset Chamber’s latest Simply Networking @9 event that took place online.

They showed that:

  • 71% of people would rather not shake hands/have physical contact at business events at this time. 18% were relaxed about it and 11% were undecided
  • 28% thought the Government was right to relax requirements such as face masks and social distancing, but 56% thought it was the wrong time
  • 78% thought there was inadequate guidance for businesses regarding 'freedom day'
  • 62% were concerned about the possibility of future restriction being introduced after 'freedom day'

They come as the Chamber prepares for its first face-to-face networking event in nearly 18 months on Tuesday, 20 July, when attendees will be asked to refrain from contact.

Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling (pictured) said: "Our survey results clearly indicated that many businesses remain cautious about Covid. The pandemic has not disappeared and businesses in Dorset are right to remain vigilant to keep their employees and customers safe."

Girling added: "We are looking forward to welcoming people back in person for our first networking event since the start of the pandemic. We considered a scheme with coloured wrist bands to indicate how comfortable people would be with contact. However, to avoid any awkwardness, we have asked delegates to refrain from any physical contact at all and this stance has been backed up by the survey results. We were the first chamber in the country to ask people not to shake hands at the start of the pandemic and all precautions will be in place at our networking event in 27 July."

The face-to-face networking event on 20 July – fully booked out – is a Business Leaders Lunch at the Bournemouth Carlton Hotel. 

Its speaker will be Cas Paton, founder of the rapidly growing online marketplace  

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