Industry bodies have urged the government to set out a plan to protect hospitality jobs following Boris Johnson’s bombshell speech telling people to avoid pubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres and leisure businesses.
UKHospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, said the advice – issued yesterday afternoon during the first daily briefing that the prime minister will give on the coronavirus – was “catastrophic” for businesses and jobs.
She said: “The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.
“Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.”
Mrs Nicholls called on the government to act immediately to protect people’s jobs.
“These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis. We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.”
Emma McClarkin, chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the severity of the COVID-19 crisis was now impacting on pubs with devastating effect.
“The government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.
“Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.”