The UK’s largest hospitality trade body said that Boris Johnson’s address to the nation “leaves the door open” for a more flexible, extended furlough system.
In a pre-recorded speech outlining the UK’s strategy for a phased route out of the lockdown, the prime minister said the hospitality industry would likely begin reopening in July.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality – which represents more than 700 companies operating around 65,000 venues – said Mr Johnson’s speech had provided a “sense of the shape of his plan and the journey ahead”.
She commented: “Mr Johnson was explicit about his commitment to support those workers whose businesses are not able to return soon, and we remain committed to continuing our dialogue with the government to achieve that. We have been calling for a more flexible, extended furlough system and today’s statement appears to leave the door open for that.
“UKHospitality has already been working up protocols for implementation in different parts of the sector, to allow venues to confidently open their doors when it is safe to do so. This is very much consistent with the approach of ‘Covid secure’ standards that the prime minister referenced.
“He recognised in his statement that some parts of business will be able to open and others won’t – we will work to ensure that the government is well-placed to support those in hospitality that need longer, as well as on enabling those who are able to return.”