Following the televised announcement that all hospitality venues had to close for all operations except the sale of takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks until at least the middle of February, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said the Government must provide the sector with a clear picture of how it intends to use its time in the coming months.
“Tighter restrictions are a clear and grave indication that we are still a long way from normality. That means hospitality businesses are a long way from being able to begin to trade their way back to safety and keep jobs alive,” says Nicholls.
“In which case, the Government has to be clear about how it is going to make the best possible use of this time.
“It needs to be used effectively to provide a rapid and extensive roll out of the vaccine and we need a clear exit strategy along with a road map for recovery and business support.”
Nicholls says that the hospitality sector can assist in the roll out of the vaccine and that its members are keen to help in the process.
“Our sector is sitting on well-ventilated, Covid-secure spaces such as hotels, conference centres, pubs and restaurants which can be used, and businesses are already coming forward to offer locations to expedite a mass vaccination programme.”
Restaurant and bar groups including BrewDog and Loungers have offered the use of their venues to help with the roll out of the Coronavirus vaccine across parts of England, Scotland and Wales.
Nicholls has once again called for more support from Government to help businesses that have been forced to closed.
“It is also more important than ever that hospitality businesses, who were hit first and hardest by this crisis are given another package of grants to keep businesses alive,” she says.
“This has to come alongside an extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday, which were already urgently needed even before these further restrictions were announced.”