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Two-thirds of operators will not survive three more months of lockdown without further support

22 April 2020 by
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Two-thirds of hospitality companies have said they will not survive a prolonged lockdown without far-reaching government support, including a significant rent holiday.

A survey of 211 pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés and street-food vendors, conducted by KAM Media, found that 66% did not think they could survive a further three months of lockdown measures.

This increased to 87% if a nine-month rent holiday, in line with the #NationalTimeOut campaign, spearheaded by Jonathan Downey of Hospitality Union, was not introduced.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "The government has moved quickly to address some of the existential challenges that hospitality faces, brought by the crisis and lockdown, and as an industry we are extremely grateful.

"However, this research underscores the scale of the challenges, which is reflected in the current mood of the industry. We need far-reaching and continued support, and unprecedented intervention of the order of the proposed nine-month #NationalTimeOut idea or an equivalent concept of similar scale, in order for hospitality jobs and businesses to endure this crisis and to be there to drive the recovery."

Katy Moses, managing director at KAM Media, added: "So many hospitality businesses are at risk and we need help in navigating a pathway to safety. We need some fundamental interventions on rents and property, and on finance and loans, and it's becoming clear that much of hospitality will require a much longer extension of the furlough scheme, given that businesses will not emerge fully from lockdown for some time.

"As an industry, we need to get behind campaigns such as #NationalTimeOut."

Operators expect footfall to be down when businesses are allowed to open once again, with 83% saying it will be at least six months before it begins to return to pre-lockdown levels, with 67% already planning how they will attract customers back through the door.

Moses added: "We are very likely to see a much more cautious consumer coming out of this lockdown, at least in the short-term. Although there will be a proportion who will run straight to a pub for a cold pint, many will stick to essential-only social gatherings in a bid to keep themselves safe.

"While we fully expect operators to respond with well-executed and communicated social distancing and health and safety measures, it means that many will operate on drastically reduced capacity and this will place significant economic pressure on swathes of the industry."

Image: Shutterstock

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