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Nicholls: ‘Continuing to batter hospitality is not the answer’

Published:  15 December, 2020

UK Hospitality has branded London’s, and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, move to Tier 3 as illogical, warning that businesses will be pushed towards failure and more jobs put at risk as a result.

Following on from the “devastating” announcement yesterday afternoon, the trade body said the government’s tier system placed an “unfair, illogical and disproportionate” burden on hospitality businesses without effectively tackling Covid.

“So many pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, having invested so much to make their venues safe, are only just clinging on by the skin of their teeth, but will be forced to take another huge hit,” said CEO Kate Nicholls.

“The burden of a region being moved into Tier 3 falls almost exclusively on hospitality businesses. It is an illogical tactic that fails to tackle Covid effectively but does push businesses closer towards failure,” she added.

Nicholls also reiterated the lack of “hard evidence” that hospitality venues are a significant contributor for the spike in infections.   

“Putting hospitality businesses back into lockdown, which is effectively what Tier 3 amounts to, is not going to tackle increasing infection rates. Cases were higher at the end of the last lockdown – during which hospitality was shut down – than at the start.

“The government is cracking down on hospitality for an increase in the infection rates that occurred during a period when hospitality was forcibly closed. It makes no sense.”

Meanwhile, The British Beer & Pub Association said the restrictions in London would force the 1,250 pubs that remained open in Tier 2 to close, putting almost 8,000 more sector jobs at risk worth an additional £16m to the local economy. 

“In total, 56,000 sector jobs are now at risk in London alone as all its 3,680 pubs will now be closed, except for takeaway business,” said CEO Emma McClarkin.

“A far bigger package of financial support, with wider eligibility for all businesses impacted, across all regions, is needed if our sector is to survive the Tier 2 and 3 restrictions this winter.”

Yesterday, Nicholls warned that closing London hospitality businesses during the busiest trading period of the year [the last two weeks in December] would wipe out £2.7bn from the capital’s economy.