Hospitality industry needs Government to confirm reopening date

Trade bodies UKHospitality and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) are demanding that the Government provides a clear date for when hospitality businesses can reopen and start trading.

They say that a definitive date will give the sector the confidence and certainty it needs to get ready for reopening.

This 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 venues in time.

Both are pressing for the Government guidance for pubs to be published now, so businesses can begin their preparations in order to be ready to open for the confirmed date.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers are now in urgent need of a definitive date on when pubs can reopen.

“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.

“The deadline for notice the Government needed to give us to be ready to reopen on 4 July, as referenced in its own roadmap, passed on Saturday.

“As of today (15 June) we have no finalised safety guidelines and no definitive date for reopening – we need both today if pubs are to reopen on 4 July.”

Following the announcement of a review of social distancing requirements on 15 June, 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.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “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.

“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.

“A review of the two-metre social distancing rule is a positive show of intent for hospitality but with less than three weeks to the proposed reopening date for our sector, 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.”

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