A Covid-19 safety Kitemark to build customer confidence is a ‘distinct possibility', the prime minister's business unit head Oliver Christian has told hotelier Robin Hutson.
Hutson, chairman of Home Grown Hotels and the Lime Wood Group, said he had a "lengthy conversation" with Christian yesterday, after writing to the prime minister earlier this month saying rural hospitality businesses will need government support until 2021 to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
In an update to the industry following the call with Downing Street, Hutson said: "Covid-19 safety compliance Kitemarks for establishments to build customer confidence are a distinct possibility."
It comes as operators have said that guest safety and building consumer confidence is a key priority. However, operators have raised concerns to The Caterer about the time and expense required to sanitise public areas continually and clean hotel bedrooms to care home standards.
Hutson confirmed there is recognition within government that seasonal businesses may require special consideration going forward.
"He was sympathetic to the issue of seasonal businesses starting up after the winter season with a ‘ball' of debt from rolled up and deferred payments. He did not rule out longer-term support via business rates and VAT," he said.
Christian acknowledged that the opening of spas "would be very difficult indeed and perhaps unlikely for the foreseeable future".
The government would be unlikely to consider differing levels of support for different sectors, said Hutson, and measures are being explored to wean businesses off the furlough "crack pipe".
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