An "exhaustive package of financial support" will be essential if hospitality businesses are to survive and preserve jobs through six months of further restrictions on trade, UKHospitality has told the government.
This afternoon prime minster Boris Johnson announced that new restrictions including a 10pm curfew for hospitality and a table service-only requirement are expected to remain in place well into 2021. The government has also told people to resume working from home if possible.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "These restrictions are a further, potentially fatal, blow for many hospitality businesses. In isolation, they may appear moderate, but the cumulative effect is going to be hugely damaging. Consumer confidence is going to take another hit and we cannot hope to recover while confidence remains low."
She continued: "Most disheartening is the announcement that they are potentially in place for six months. Lots of businesses will not survive this and we are going to see more and more people lose their jobs unless we have the support to counterbalance these restrictions.
"The government must immediately announce an exhaustive package of financial support, otherwise our sector is facing ruin. Employment support must be extended. The furlough scheme is already winding down and it comes to a complete halt at the end of October. Unless it is extended for our sector, businesses are inevitably going to have to make staff redundant. We are looking at a steady stream of job losses for six months, otherwise.
"We also must have longer-term support to enable businesses to rebuild in 2021. The VAT cut for the sector must be extended as must the business rates holiday. We also need a rent-debt settlement package, otherwise whole businesses are going to go under with widespread redundancies."