New restrictions will 'significantly reduce' hospitality visits

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

New restrictions will 'significantly reduce' hospitality visits 10pm curfew restaurants pubs CGA

Related tags: Curfew, Restaurant, Coronavirus, Cga

Consumers will significantly reduce their visits to pubs, bars and restaurants in the light of new Government restrictions, CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse Survey shows.

Two in five (40%) respondents say they will go out less often as a result of the measures, which include a 'hard' 10pm curfew on operating hours for hospitality businesses.

The poll was conducted on Tuesday last week (22 September) after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new measures, which also see licensed venues legally obligated to operate with table service only.

Tighter regulations are set to have the biggest impact on consumers who have been slow to return to hospitality, especially those in older age groups.

However, they appear less likely to affect the behaviour of previously regular visitors, who largely indicate they will maintain their frequency.

The survey suggests the curfew might not have the Government’s desired effect of reducing late-night contact, though.

A third (34%) of British adults say they would be likely to invite friends back to their house after 10pm, and nearly as many (30%) admit they would seek out alternative locations to continue socialising.

The Consumer Pulse Survey indicates the measures may have further important impacts on behaviour, including shorter visits and an even greater reluctance to visit city centres.

Among people who often go out late, three quarters will either stay for a shorter length of time (43%), or stay away in the late evening completely (34%).

Of those who typically visit city centres, nearly half (48%) say they are now less likely to visit venues, compared to 29% in rural areas.

The regulations may also spread visits more evenly across the week, continuing a pattern of behaviour set in August by the popularity of the Monday-to-Wednesday Eat Out to Help Out promotion.

Two in five (41%) consumers who previously went out on Saturdays say they are less likely to do so now, compared to 29% of weekday visitors.

"Our survey shows that having been encouraged out to restaurants, pubs and bars in August, large numbers of consumers are now likely to retreat," says CGA’s research and insight director Charlie Mitchell.

"The new restrictions deal a major blow to operators who had got back on their feet after lockdown, and to city-centre and late-night operators in particular.

"With so many people signalling they will simply switch their socialising elsewhere, rather than in the hygienic environments that operators have worked so hard to create, these measures may not even have much beneficial impact.

"Businesses have responded nimbly to all the restrictions that have been placed on them so far, and will now be finding more innovative ways to sustain trade without compromising guests’ safety.”

Pressure is currently mounting on the Government to review its 'hard' 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses amid criticism the new rules are leading to people filling the streets en masse​ after visiting restaurants and pubs.

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