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Industry bodies demand government issues definitive opening date and guidance

15 June 2020 by
Industry bodies demand government issues definitive opening date and guidance

A definitive date for opening and guidance on safety requirements have been demanded by industry bodies.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "We need confirmation of the reopening date for hospitality businesses without any further delay. Businesses need time to prepare and the first step in giving them some much-needed clarity is confirmation of when they can open their doors again.

"This is particularly important for hotels and tourism, where 60% of bookings are made more than two weeks in advance. If the sector is to reopen on 4 July, that only gives us two weeks from this weekend, so time is of the essence. Friday's GDP figures – with hospitality and tourism representing a quarter of the total decline – illustrated the powerful economic might of the sectors, so the country can ill-afford delaying their return to trading.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has said pubs need concrete information to release staff from furlough, ensure beer supplies are ready and to invest in safety procedures. Without assurances it is thought thousands of pubs will not be able to reopen as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "Our 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers are now in urgent need of a definitive date on when pubs can reopen. We have consistently and clearly asked government for at least three weeks' notice to ensure our pubs can bring staff out of furlough, prepare and reconfigure themselves to adhere to safety guidelines, and ensure they have fresh draught beer ready to serve customers.

"The deadline for notice the government needed to give us to be ready to reopen on 4 July, as referenced in its own roadmap, passed on Saturday. As of today we have no finalised safety guidelines and no definitive date for reopening – we need both today if pubs are to reopen on 4 July."

UKHospitality has also urged the government to offer further support, as recommended by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism. Nicholls added: "If we want the reopening to be a success, we must have confirmation of the reopening date, alongside Covid-secure guidelines for the sector, supported by a commitment from the government to support tourism and hospitality businesses through a cut in tourism VAT and air passenger duty, an extension of the rent moratorium to protect from landlord activity and the creation of an autumn Bank Holiday."

Image: Shutterstock

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