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‘We're ready to open on 22 June, but need certainty' UKHospitality tells government

08 June 2020 by
Kate Nicholls spokesperson for Hospitality and Tourism Action Group

Many businesses are "ready to open", but need certainty on times and conditions, UKHospitality has said after it was revealed an easing of restrictions from 22 June was being considered.

Plans to allow restaurants to serve customers outdoors in two weeks' time are to be discussed by the cabinet tomorrow, having been put forward by chancellor Rishi Sunak and five other ministers, the Financial Times revealed.

The two-metre distancing requirement is also believed to be on the meeting's agenda, with hospitality businesses arguing a 50% reduction will be vital to saving millions of jobs in the sector.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "Early reopening would undoubtedly be a positive step for the sector. Many tourism businesses such as hotels, holiday parks, visitor attractions and others with outdoor space are ready to open now, but need certainty so they can alert their teams, end furlough and restart their supply chains.

"Significant costs are about to be incurred, so we need clarity from ministers on a date that hospitality can reopen and, more importantly, the conditions under which businesses can welcome back customers.

"Government deserves credit for the furlough scheme that has protected so many jobs along with the other economic measures that have supported our businesses. But this will all be in vain if the two-metre rule is kept in place.

"Key to a viable restart is the reduction of social distancing measures to the international-recognised standard of one metre. If the science says it is safe to do so, this reduction would be a huge boost for the hospitality sector and prove critical to the survival of the vast majority of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs."

The move has been mooted amid a wave of redundancies as operators prepare for changes to the furlough scheme come August.

Wave of redundancies as distancing and end of furlough bring business realities into focus>>

Further redundancies as Hartlepool hotel falls into administration and Crieff Hydro launches consultation>>

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