Government urged to give hospitality sector an opening date as soon as possible

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Government urged to give hospitality sector an opening date as soon as possible

Related tags lockdown Restaurant Public house Hotel Coronavirus

The Government is being urged to provide the hospitality sector with a definite date on when restaurants, pubs and hotels can reopen.

Following the Government's announcement of a review of social distancing requirements, industry trade bodies UKHospitality and The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) have demanded that it gives a clear, definitive date for when businesses can reopen.

UKHospitality has written to Secretaries of State at BEIS and DCMS, to reiterate the urgent need for clarity in order to reactivate workers and resume business.

“We need confirmation of the reopening date for hospitality businesses without any further delay. Businesses need time to prepare and the first step in giving them some much-needed clarity is confirmation of when they can open their doors again," says UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls.

“This is particularly important for hotels and tourism, where 60% of bookings are made more than two weeks in advance. If the sector is to reopen on 4 July, that only gives us two weeks from this weekend, so time is of the essence. Friday’s GDP figures – with hospitality and tourism representing a quarter of the total decline – illustrated the powerful economic might of the sectors, so the country can ill afford delaying their return to trading."

While Nicholls described the review of the two-metre social distancing rule as "a positive show of intent for hospitality" she says that with less than three weeks to the proposed re-opening date for the sector that a crucial element of certainty is "conspicuously absent".

"If we want the reopening to be a success, we must have confirmation of the reopening date, alongside COVID secure guidelines for the sector, supported by a commitment from the Government to support tourism and hospitality businesses through a cut in tourism VAT and Air Passenger Duty, an extension of the rent moratorium to protect from landlord activity and the creation of an autumn Bank Holiday,” she says.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has also demanded the UK Government give a clear date for when pubs can reopen saying that any further delay from Government to provide a definitive date for reopening will mean pubs won’t be able to reopen on 4 ​July.

It is urging the Government "to give the sector the confidence and certainty it needs to get ready for reopening", which is says includes "releasing staff from furlough, agreeing the significant investment required in pubs to ensure they can reopen with new safety protocols in place and getting the brewing of draught beer underway again and delivered to pubs in time".

It also says the Government’s guidance for pubs when they reopen needs to be published now, so they can begin their preparations in order to be ready to open for the Government’s confirmed date. Without an immediate announcement of a definitive date and the issue of the promised final safety guidelines today, the BBPA says thousands of Britain’s pubs, despite their best efforts, will not be able to reopen.

“Our 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers are now in urgent need of a definitive date on when pubs can reopen," says Emma McClarkin, BBPA chief executive.

"We have consistently and clearly asked Government for at least three weeks’ notice to ensure our pubs can bring staff out of furlough, prepare and reconfigure themselves to adhere to safety guidelines, and ensure they have fresh draught beer ready to serve customers.

"As of today we have no finalised safety guidelines and no definitive date for reopening – we need both today if pubs are to reopen on 4 July.”

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