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Hospitality not 'significant area' of Covid transmission

Published:  17 February, 2021

Hospitality businesses were not "significant areas" of Covid transmission in 2020 and should be central to reopening plans in 2021, according to new research by CGA, commissioned by UK Hospitality (UKH).

Moreover, the report said the industry would not be responsible for “significant transmission” in spring 2021 and beyond. 

It also highlighted that reports linking the Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) scheme to a rapid rise in Covid cases were linked to a “single, discredited study”.

As such, UKH reiterated its calls to government to make hospitality central to reopening plans, highlighting how the industry is “uniquely well placed” to maintain and enforce Covid-19 mitigation measures and should not be held back from reopening. 

Hospitality, it added, should be seen as equally high priority as non-essential retail and next in line after priority sectors such as schools.

“Reopening has to be done correctly at the first time of asking. A barrier to that could be the incorrect assumption that our businesses pose a risk to public health,” said CEO Kate Nicholls. 

"We know that hospitality businesses are safe and all the data has shown we are not a significant area of transmission. This report is a vindication of everything we have been saying and a forceful argument for allowing us to reopen and welcome back our customers.”

Hospitality could lead the economic recovery of the country, she added. 

“We can provide jobs to people who have lost them and host millions who are desperate for some enjoyment after a torrid year. This report shows we can do it safely, too. The government should take note and ensure it allows hospitality to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The UK hospitality market saw a staggering 54% fall in sales in 2020, equivalent to £71.8bn in sales lost versus 2019, due to the pandemic.

“The result of the lockdowns and the restrictions placed on the sector last year was crippling. Business was devastated to an extent hitherto unimaginable. Many businesses are barely surviving and cannot afford another year with restrictions on the scale of 2020,” said Nicholls.

Details of the research can be fuond here.