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UK Hospitality urges government to confirm reopening date

Published:  16 June, 2020

UK Hospitality has urged the government to confirm a reopening date for hospitality to enable the on-trade to prepare for it properly.   

The trade body has written to Secretaries of State at BEIS and DCMS, to reiterate the urgent need for clarity in order to reactivate workers and resume business.

UK Hospitality 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, she added, was particularly important for hotels and tourism, where 60% of bookings are made more than two weeks in advance.

Highlighting the mooted 4 July reopening date, Nicholls reiterated that “time is of essence”. She also pointed to Friday’s GDP figures – with hospitality and tourism representing a quarter of the total decline – and how they illustrated the “powerful economic might of the sectors, so the country can ill afford delaying their return to trading”.

“A review of the 2 metre social distancing rule is a positive show of intent for hospitality but with less than three weeks to the proposed reopening date for our sector, a crucial element of certainty is conspicuously absent.

“If we want the reopening to be a success, we must have confirmation of the date, alongside Covid-19 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.”

At yesterday’s briefing, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the government expects the next Covid-19 review, including if the 2 metre social distancing rule will be reduced, to be completed “within the coming weeks”.