As the Wear region emerges from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown introduced to contain it, the confidence of consumers and businesses will be critical to any hopes of swift economic revival.

And the good news is that business owners and leaders across Wearside are increasingly hopeful that confidence is returning, boosted both by measures prudently taken and the region’s traditional strengths.

Mike McGaun, business development executive, Travis Perkins Managed Services

Lockdown has proved challenging to the business community, not just in the North East but nationally and internationally.

Now that measures are being eased though, I expect North East businesses will respond as well as they always have done.

The North East business community has a deep history of helping each other through the hardest of times. It is one of those things that sets us apart from other regions.

We have so many excellent networking groups and partnerships locally that I’m confident it won’t be long before many businesses are back to pre-Covid_19 levels of business.

Due to the adaptability of so many businesses, consumers will quickly know that safety is at the forefront of everything we do.

And because of that, I think we’ll see more and more signs of confidence in consumers that they can return to us, knowing they are in a good environment locally.”

Mark Henderson, director, Compliant Facilities Management  

I personally feel that with the current safety measures in place, business and consumer confidence will start to return very soon to the Wear region.

We have seen an increase in businesses looking to invest in ISO accreditations and applying for grant funding which is a great sign.

Businesses are looking to the future and can see a return to a new normal and therefore many are investing now with a view to coming out of this situation stronger.

The North East community is tough and resilient and I have full confidence we will continue to see investment and growth in our area.

Nicola Halse, owner, Riverside Marketing Solutions

I really feel that the local Councils and communities have worked very well together to ensure that businesses feel confident enough to reopen and the knock-on effect of that is to instill confidence in consumers.

I have seen an increase in clients looking to invest in marketing and sales which gives me confidence that business is starting to return to ‘normal’.

Many businesses maintained their presence online or adapted to suit the situation and they will definitely be the ones that come out of this stronger and with a healthy sales pipeline.

Of course, it’s essential we all remain vigilant to the risks however having lived in the North East all my life I’m sure businesses and the community will work together to keep everyone safe and get business thriving once again.”

Maxine Henry, owner, The People Place HR

As lockdown eases and consumer confidence increases, I don’t think it will be long before many of us start to venture out and begin interacting socially.

A critical factor in creating confidence will be the approach that individual businesses will take and consumers will notice the difference between those that are ‘loosely’ following the rules and those that are taking extra precautions to make their clients feel safe.

I’ve already seen an increase in clients requesting face-to-face meetings, which I’m more than happy to facilitate.

I use a meeting room which has been sterilised between uses, face coverings are observed, and hand sanitizers are available for my client’s convenience.

I even have a pack of disposable face masks for those caught short!”

And I think that’s just one example of tens of thousands of actions being taken across the Wear region which will quickly build confidence in consumers when they are out and about, that they are being taken care of.

Once they see how much they are being looked after by businesses and local authorities, I think confidence will very quickly return.