Over 80% of accommodation and food service businesses have closed temporarily

A new survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that 81.2% of accommodation and food service businesses have closed temporarily due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The independent producer of official statistics reached out to 17,786 businesses for its Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS), and a total of 6,171 (34.7%) responded for the period between 3 March and 5 April 2020.

The research also found only only 0.4% of accommodation and food service businesses have permanently ceased trading.

Additionally, of all businesses that responded to the survey as continuing to trade or pausing trade, 94% indicated that they were interested in at least one of the government schemes on offer to them.

The most popular schemes were the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with four in five businesses (80%) interested in this, and the deferral of Value Added Tax (VAT) payments with around seven in 10 businesses (68%) interested in this scheme.

It comes amid warnings from UKHospitality that an extended period of social distancing could cost one million jobs unless measures to protect hospitality businesses are put in place.

On the day that professor Chris Whitty warned that social distancing measures could last beyond 2020, UKH revealed it has written cabinet office minister, Michael Gove MP, recommending a six-point plan to help the country’s hospitality businesses reopen following the crisis and save jobs and businesses.

UKH said the letter highlights how many hospitality businesses would not be able to operate profitably while implementing social distancing measures and set out the need for a pragmatic, evidence-based plan to help businesses open when it is safe to do so.

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