The latest UKHospitality (UKH) survey has revealed that hospitality businesses are predicting a “lengthy and painful” recovery post-lockdown, with trade levels expected to be “significantly suppressed” for many months.
The findings revealed low expectations across the sector, with responses from a range of different operators within the industry.
The survey asked respondents for their trading expectations in the three months post-lockdown, as well as in December, a “vital revenue-generating month” for the sector.
Respondents were also asked about the effect a one-metre social distancing rule would have on trade, versus a two-metre rule.
While most respondents predicted more trade with a one-metre distancing rule, trade was still expected to be at just over half the level compared to the year before, even with the one-metre rule in place.
Overall, respondents “overwhelmingly” expected a slow recovery in the second half of 2020, with a “worst-case scenario” in December, with trade at around a third of the previous year’s level if the two-metre rule remained in place.
The shorter-term outlook is “yet more downbeat”, according to UKH, with expectations for August trading between a 78% and 65% decline depending on the level of social distancing required in venues.
It comes as UKH is calling on the government to “urgently confirm” the 4 July reopening date, and for it to make “renewed commitments” on extended support for the sector, in order to prevent widespread business failure and further job losses.
UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls, said: “This bleak outlook from operators should sound the alarm with governments across the UK. First things first, we urgently need confirmation of the reopening date for hospitality without further delay.
“Businesses need time to prepare and the first step on the road to recovery is confirmation of when they can open their doors again. Those who rely on advance bookings, such as hotels, leisure parks and attractions need answers now.”
She added: “For most venues, operating with the two-metre social distancing rule is financially unviable, so if the current review on social distancing recommends it is safe to do so, we would urge the Government to adopt the internationally-recognised standard of one metre.
“Such a reduction would be a huge boost for the sector and prove critical to the survival of the vast majority of businesses.”