Outlook for hospitality sector remains gloomy as Government prepares to deliver plan to restart economy

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Outlook for hospitality sector remains gloomy as Government prepares to deliver plan to restart economy

Related tags Government Coronavirus

The Prime Minister has said the Government will deliver a “comprehensive plan” next week on how the Coronavirus lockdown may be eased, and how it intends to restart the British economy.

Speaking at yesterday’s (30 April) news briefing, Boris Johnson said the UK was "past the peak” of the Coronavirus outbreak, and “on the downward slope”.

In light of this he said he would be producing a “road map, a menu of options” explaining how to get the economy moving and children back to school, while still suppressing the spread of the disease.

The strategy for easing lockdown restrictions involves five key tests and focuses on suppressing the R value (the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to), which needs to stay below one to avoid the virus taking off again at speed.

Looking towards the next phase of recovery, the PM said: “I will be setting out a comprehensive plan next week to explain how we can get our economy moving, our children back to school and into childcare, and thirdly how we can travel to work and make life in the workplace safer.

“In short, how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.”

Social distancing will likely play a lead role in allowing businesses across various sectors to reopen, which spells further bad news for the hospitality sector. 

In a recent survey of more than 260 restaurant and bar operators, carried out by the restaurant guide Square Meal, three quarters said they do not expect their businesses to survive with social distancing measures in place.

Operators including café chain Paul, and London-based restaurant group JKS, cautioned that measures designed to stall the spread of Coronavirus could pose an existential threat to their businesses. 

Just over a quarter of respondents said it would be impossible to implement social distancing measures, with 48% saying they expected to make staff redundancies in the next month.

Square Meal is to present its findings to a parliamentary advisory committee today (1 May).

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