CoronavirusNews

UKH launches industry roadmap for a safe reopening

UKHospitality has announced the launch of a new campaign that will “highlight that businesses are ready to reopen in a safe and sustainable way” with suitable government support.

Alongside the launch of the new #FAIR4Hospitality campaign, the trade body has now called on the government to invest in a “fair and timely return” for the hospitality industry this summer in order to support communities, jobs and the UK economy. 

In conjunction with government plans to reopen the sector, the UKHospitality campaign will work as an industry roadmap and outline four primary areas in which the government can further support the industry.

The roadmap includes a call for government endorsement of the sector’s best-practice protocols and risk assessments, and an assurance that the furlough scheme is retained at a full rate for hospitality until businesses can “successfully restart”.

The campaign also calls on regulation to provide a ‘National Time Out’ on rent payments for the remainder of the year, as well as a solution to address debt and costs for hospitality businesses.

It has also called on the government to reduce the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses in order to “help boost confidence and incentivise visits to tourist destinations”.

As a first step, the trade body has submitted its best practice health and safety protocols to ministers for endorsement, which emphasise that the sector needs “flexibility to operate safely” without a “one-size-fits-all approach”. 

It comes as UKHospitality warned that the hospitality trade has seen a 21% decline in the first three months of 2020 following a nationwide lockdown. 

The trade body said there has also been a “near wipe-out” of trade in the second quarter, with almost a third of businesses predicting they will never reopen some sites. 

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: “Hospitality needs the UK and devolved governments to help us deliver for our customers, our employees, local communities and the wellbeing of the nation. 

“We will be ready to restart in England on 4 July and other parts of the country when allowed, but for the entire country to come together again after lockdown, governments must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality and all those who rely on it.”

She added: “The sector provides jobs and livelihoods in every city, town and village. But we are more than that, our venues are where communities come together – our doors reopening will be a true measure of national recovery. 

“It is vital that reopening is done in the right way, at the right time and with the right support so that our industry can help rebuild shattered consumer confidence and bring the nation back together safely over the coming months.”

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