Thousands have signed a petition calling on the government to support hospitality businesses as operators vow to fight their way through the crisis.
More than 25,000 people had signed the petition two hours after prime minister Boris Johnson advised people to avoid pubs, clubs and restaurants, without ordering them to close. The move has left the industry in in limbo, unable to file insurance claims without being told by government to close, but facing the prospect of having no customers to serve. UKHospitality described the move as "catastrophic" as it called for action.
The petition calls for the government to "take responsibility and formally close venues if that is what is actually required", as well as offering a package of support and a clear message for both operators and the public.
It added: "The hospitality industry is the third largest industry in the UK with many jobs at stake. In choosing to not officially close restaurants, bars, hotels and other venues and instead putting the onus on consumers and business owners is both a dangerous and cowardly decision."
At the same time, operators pledged to see out the crisis. Gary Usher, founder of the Elite Bistros group, said: "I haven't opened six restaurants to watch six restaurants close down and never open again. The future holds no certainty – that is one of very few facts. Another fact is you will have to drag my stubborn corpse out of Sticky Walnut before someone tries to take Elite Bistros from me. We will fucking beat this virus. We will come out stronger."
Angela Hartnett, behind the Murano group of London restaurants, commented: "LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU AND YES WE WILL BEAT THIS."
The Wilderness restaurant in Birmingham shared the petition with The Caterer and said "We are here and ready to fight".
Monica Galetti, chef proprietor of Mere, tweeted: "We won't go without a fight."
To sign the petition click here.