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18th February 2021

UKHospitality calls on Government to create clear reopening roadmap

Written by: Edward Waddell
Trade body UKHospitality is urging the Government to provide businesses with certainty and clarity in its reopening announcement next week.

The hospitality industry lost £72Bn in sales during 2020 making it the worst year on record. From 8 March 2021, the earliest day for the end of the current national lockdown, the hospitality industry will have been closed for more than half of a year (28 weeks since the middle of March 2020).

UKHospitality created a roadmap featuring a ten-point plan to enable the hospitality industry to successfully reopen from the start of April, based on vaccination levels and infection rates.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, commented: “The success of the vaccine rollout thus far is hugely encouraging and offers not just hospitality but the whole of society a clear exit from this current lockdown.

“However, a delayed reopening will come at the cost of even more jobs and more business collapses – this is an industry that is clearly already on its knees and that has already lost one million jobs, including those lost amongst our ailing supply partners.

“Prolonged closure risks the longer-term economic recovery and also makes no sense on the grounds of safety. There is no valid reason for hospitality to be at the back of the queue as data shows hospitality venues are very low risk due to the exceptional investment that businesses have made in creating safe and Covid-secure environments.

“Businesses need firm dates to plan their reopening strategies, so they can bring back staff, negotiate their rent with landlords and re-engage with all their suppliers.

“We urge Government to provide that certainty and to underpin the recovery with business support: extending the 5% VAT rate and the business rates holiday will stimulate consumer demand and help reduce costs. These measures are vital in returning hospitality to being an engine of economic and employment growth.”

UKHospitality’s roadmap to recovery:

  1. Focus on reducing infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
  2. Link hospitality reopening to vaccines and the preservation of life.
  3. Recognise the safety of hospitality.
  4. Set clear reopening ambitions on 22nd February 2021.
  5. Begin gradual regional reopening once top-4 priority groups are protected.
  6. A time-limited transitionary system from early April.
  7. Revert to a national system of controls from mid-June.
  8. Explore a safe way to open up international travel.
  9. Foster consumer confidence and a return to our great cities.
  10. Underpin the recovery with business support.