The industry body has launched a new campaign requesting investment in a ‘fair and timely return for hospitality this summer’
Four primary areas for the government to focus on have been outlined:
- Wellbeing: Endorse the sector’s best-practice protocols and risk assessments for a covid-secure restart
- Workers: Ensure the furlough scheme is retained at full rate for hospitality until businesses successfully restart
- Communities: Regulate to provide a ‘National time out’ on rent payments for the remainder of the year and a solution to address debt and costs for business
- Consumers: Cut the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses to help boost confidence and incentivise visits to tourist destinations.
UKHospitality has already submitted its best practice health and safety protocols to ministers for endorsement, which emphasise that the sector needs flexibility to operate safely and should not be constricted by a one-size-fits-all approach, given the diversity of businesses covered.
‘We will be ready to restart (in England on 4 July and other parts of the country when allowed), but for the entire country to come together again after lockdown, governments must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality and all those who rely on it,’ said chief executive, Kate Nicholls.
‘The summer is a crucial time for the sector. The Great British public deserve safe accommodation, eating and drinking out experiences, holidays and leisure time; the financial cost is a justified investment in our nation’s wellbeing and the future of the economy.’
UKHospitality figures suggest there has been a ‘near wipe-out of trade’ in the hospitality sector – around a third of businesses believe they will never reopen some sites, it claims. Even while closed, the sector faces costs, UKHospitality points out – with bills of up to £1bn in rent and other overheads in the second quarter of the year.