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Hospitality sector demands ‘clarity’ amid closure rumours

Hospitality workers in the North of England are requesting clarity from UK government officials following news that restaurants and bars may have to close from Monday. 

According to Sky News, ministers are said to be still finalising a “traffic light system plan” where different areas of England with the highest infection rates would be asked to self isolate, prohibiting the opening of hospitality venues. 

Statistics by centre for cities show the North of England has struggled the most in stopping a second wave of Covid-19, Liverpool currently has the highest number of cases, with 493 cases per 100,000 population. 

Sky News reported that a local emergency fund of £40m has already been established this week in the Liverpool city region to help the struggling hospitality sector but people’s anger is now targeted towards the national government.

The official rules under the traffic light system plan are rumored to be announced by 12 October, however hospitality workers in affected areas have told the news outlet that they “can’t afford to wait till Monday”. 

In addition, ahead of the chancellor’s announcement on business support later today, UKHospitality has this morning called for levels of support for hospitality in line with previous furlough levels.

During a series of morning media interviews, the trade association’s CEO, Kate Nicholls, called for an 80% furlough coverage for employees in locked down areas and 66% furlough support for areas with other restrictions to trade. Nicholls also highlighted the need for a new grant scheme to preserve businesses.

She said: “To save jobs and businesses, Government support for hospitality must be at the same levels of the furlough scheme where there are forced closures, and two thirds of wages where curfews and other restrictions are seeing trade hit hard.

“Alongside a new package of grants, this would help to preserve a sector that has the economic might to help drive Britain’s economic recovery, as this morning’s GDP figures demonstrate.”

She added: “It would be reckless to make momentous decisions on our future without protecting the positive investment of the furlough scheme, which has done so much to sustain so many jobs thus far.”

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