Businesses are being asked to co-operate with NHS Test and Trace to prevent the serious effects of a local lockdown in Cumbria.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said a local lockdown of the sort applied in Leicester would have a disastrous effect.

Chief executive Rob Johnston said: “The experience in Leicester is a warning to us all. Businesses there had invested heavily in safe working and social-distancing measures so they could operate safely and were then forced to shut again leaving them with no revenue.

“Cumbria, which relies heavily on the visitor economy, simply cannot afford to suffer reputational damage of this sort. It’s vital that businesses in hospitality and close-contact services, such as hairdressers, fulfil their obligation to keep records of visiting customers so they can be traced in the event of someone testing positive for Covid-19.

“It can feel like an onerous bureaucratic burden but it’s absolutely key to keeping a lid on this. It’s important too that businesses don’t abuse the information they collect. It’s purely for the benefit of NHS Test and Trace and can’t be used for marketing purposes, for example.

"We know that some consumers, especially older people, are still reluctant to visit shops and eating places because they’re worried about picking up the virus. The best way to give them confidence to return is to drive down the infection rate. Only NHS Test and Trace can do that."

Information on NHS Test and Trace can be found in the Chamber’s Restart Toolkit on its website.