The end of what taxi drivers call ‘Kipper Season’ could be imminent following the announcement of Omicron coronavirus restriction easements.
Both Governments in England and Scotland recently made public their plans to drop working from home requirements as of next week.
Taxi driver work levels were hit hard in the lead up to Christmas when respective Governments were forced to impose restrictions to stem the rising number of Omicron cases.
Within the taxi industry January is widely regarded as the quietist month for business. It is commonly referred to as ‘Kipper Season’. Since the turn of the new year cabbies have had to tackle the seasonal downturn in work, coupled with lower journeys caused by restrictions still in place.
There is now widespread optimism that the taxi sector can begin rebuilding on taxi vehicle and driver numbers to meet what is expected to be a period of high demand.
If all goes well taxi booking service, Taxi Butler, expect the taxi market to be back on track by Q2 2022. Will Nash, Director of Marketing at Taxi Butler and Driver Bubble, however warned more needs to be done to tackle driver shortages in the taxi and private hire market.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) said: “Work from home dropped from today. Next week should see a slow but steady increase in footfall across town.”
The Government’s return to Plan A in England on Thursday 27 January is said to be largely thanks to the success of the booster programme. On 8 December, the Prime Minister announced a move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The Government say the measures introduced helped to control the spread of COVID-19, bought time to assess the variant and allowed the NHS to rapidly expand the booster programme to strengthen defences.
This means from yesterday, the Government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can. People should speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office, and should follow the Working Safely guidance.
Today, face coverings will no longer be advised in classrooms for both staff and pupils.
From Thursday 27 January other Plan B restrictions will be dropped which includes:
Venues and events will no longer be required by law to use the NHS Covid Pass. The NHS Covid Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis as was previously the case in Plan A.
Face coverings are no longer required by law in any setting. Public health guidance will remain in place, suggesting individuals should continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
The Department for Education will remove national guidance on the use of face coverings in communal areas, with local Directors of Public Health able to recommend the use of face coverings in education settings across their area only where the department and public health experts judge the measure to be proportionate due to specific health concerns. This is a temporary measure and Directors of Public Health continue to advise individual settings experiencing outbreaks.
Any local introduction of face coverings must be subject to routine review and removed at the earliest opportunity.