The survey of more than 100 independent pubs, cafes, restaurants and event caterers carried out by the newly-formed Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) over the weekend (4-5 July) found that within the 102 businesses that responded, 434 jobs had already been lost, with a further 452 planned, amounting to 886 job losses from the sample.
Multiplied by the scale of the sector in Wales, and the total number of jobs losses will be in excess of 30,000, according to WIRC.
The survey, conducted at a time when hospitality businesses in England have been able to reopen, also highlights the need among hospitality businesses to reopen their venues for trade. Wales remains the only UK nation yet to give a date for inside opening, with an indoor reopening date dependent on the sector’s ability to open safely outdoors from 13 July, yet only 32% of the businesses surveyed say that they will be able to open on an outside only-basis.
“The sector urgently requires a date that allows us to trade indoors this summer - like the rest of the UK - to give us a chance to retain some employment into Winter 2020/21 and towards summer 2021,” says Simon Wright, restaurateur and founding member of the WIRC, which is made up of representatives from more than 300 of Wales’ independent restaurants and hospitality businesses. “There is a rapidly disappearing window of summer opportunity as we head towards August.”
The WIRC is calling on the Welsh Government for a clear path to reopening for businesses inside, saying that there will be very few hospitality businesses in Wales that will even be able to cover their opening costs on the current ‘outside only’ basis that has been outlined.
It is also asking it to consider innovative ways of getting emergency support to the sector.
“As a collective, we understand that Welsh Government doesn’t have the power to control the key levers of the economy, and in that respect we ask them to redouble their efforts with the UK Government on issues such as furlough, VAT and sharing of the rent burden,” says Wright.