The hospitality industry has called for more government support following the Prime Minister’s announcement that England will move to Plan B following the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.
Associations across the industry warned of the impact the announcement will have on consumer confidence over the Christmas period.
As part of Plan B, from Friday 10 December, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, though there will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating and drinking.
From Wednesday 15 December, however, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather.
This includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
Commenting on the news, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: “While the government clearly acknowledges that hospitality is safe and can continue to host celebrations in the lead up to Christmas, the measures announced today will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues.
“As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year. We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry.”
Meanwhile, Michael Kill, CEO for the Night Time Industries Association stated that the use of vaccine passports will have a ”damaging impact” on night time economy businesses. He reiterated how the pre-Christmas period is “absolutely crucial” for the sector and that the implementation of Plan B will have a “devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic”.
In addition, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, added that the news was “a huge blow” for the sector as it “further undermines consumer confidence and is devastating for pubs based near offices and in town centres”.
She said the sector will still need clarifications and to see the detail on other aspects of Plan B including the use of facemasks.