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‘Lengthy and painful' recovery anticipated by hospitality operators

22 June 2020 by
‘Lengthy and painful' recovery anticipated by hospitality operators

Hospitality operators are anticipating a "lengthy and painful" recovery with demand expected to remain suppressed for many months to come.

A survey of members by UKHospitality has shown expectations that August will see a year-on-year decline of between 65% and 78%, depending on distancing requirements.

A ‘worst-case scenario' in December would see trade at around one-third of 2019 levels, if the two-metre rule remained in place. Even at one metre, trade is only expected to be at just over half the level seen the year before.

The findings have been published as UKHospitality calls on the prime minister to confirm the 4 July opening date in line with expectations this week.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "This bleak outlook from operators should sound the alarm with governments across the UK. First things first, we urgently need confirmation of the reopening date for hospitality without further delay. Businesses need time to prepare and the first step on the road to recovery is confirmation of when they can open their doors again. Those who rely on advance bookings, such as hotels, leisure parks and attractions, need answers now.

"For most venues, operating with the two-metre social distancing rule is financially unviable, so if the current review on social distancing recommends it is safe to do so, we would urge the government to adopt the internationally-recognised standard of one metre. Such a reduction would be a huge boost for the sector and prove critical to the survival of the vast majority of businesses.

"With trade forecast to be materially down for many months to come, the government must consider targeted support to help assist the sector's recovery, such as a cut in tourism VAT and air passenger duty, support for missed rent payments during closure and the creation of an autumn bank holiday."

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