Government

Covid-19: Social distancing measures ‘catastrophic’ for pubs, restaurants and hotels

UKHospitality has said the government’s latest advice that people should avoid pubs, restaurants, hotels will be “catastrophic” for businesses and jobs.

It has now called on the government for “immediate support for hospitality”, as well as “meaningful business continuity measures”.

UKH’s CEO, Kate Nicholls, said the announcement has “effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support”, and that this will lead to “thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses”.

In addition to this, Nicholls said the latest advice also leaves the industry in limbo, with “no recourse to insurance”, and comes after an “unprecedented” drop in visits over the past few weeks.

Nicholls continued: “The Government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.

“We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said the “severity” of the COVID-19 crisis is also impacting pubs with “devastating effect”, and added: “The government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

She continued: “Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.

“Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.”

James Foice, CEO of ASAP, the trade body for members of the serviced apartments and aparthotel industry, has also called on the UK Government to recognise the “potential disaster” its latest Coronavirus advice poses for the hospitality industry.

He said the tourism sector is responsible for nearly six million jobs across the UK, and claims it is Britain’s fourth largest employer. He added that mass redundancies across the industry also seem “inevitable”.

Foice said: “With the public advised against non-essential social interaction, businesses such as pubs, bars and hotels, including our Members, are in danger of a devastating shock to business – and, sadly, closure.”

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