Urgent support is needed for foodservice operators in Bolton that have been forced to suddenly close their businesses due to a local shutdown, industry figures have said.
Health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday instructed pubs and restaurants to close their premises for dine-in customers with immediate effect.
Takeaway services are still permitted, but all venues must be shut between 10pm and 5am.
UKHospitality responded to the new measures this morning by warning that operators needed greater clarification on what else they can do to prevent such a scenario.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said hospitality venues have gone out of their way to collect test and trace data , so inevitably will be linked to more cases, despite the reality of infections happening in any setting.
“It is vital that the government urgently engages with us to help businesses understand what more they can do, and what triggers this level of lockdown.
“Those hospitality businesses in Bolton who have done the right thing, having made themselves Covid-secure in order to safely trade their way out of a crisis are now being forced to close. There must be an adequate support package to see them through to the other side of this shutdown, with clear criteria for when they can reopen fully.”
Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said that while safety must always come first, the closures were devastating for pubs, bars and restaurants.
“I feel for the operators, many who have only just recently re-opened. This completely re-iterates why we need further financial aid for businesses who can’t fully operate.”
Danilo Mangano, general manager Europe at SevenRooms, whose hospitality platform is used by D&D London, Dishoom, Hakkasan, Corbin & King and SushiSamba, said the Bolton situation highlighted that hospitality venues need to be prepared for circumstances where their operations are limited to takeaway only.
“Venues risk being caught off guard if they do not have a plan in place for quickly shifting their operations to delivery and takeaway to continue serving their customers. At a time when recovery is on the mind of every operator throughout the UK, putting this plan into action quickly and effectively could have a meaningful impact on their bottom line as they continue to rebuild.
He said where possible, venues should be looking to facilitate their own online ordering, collection and delivery services.
“With ongoing uncertainty over local lockdowns and potential reclosures, hospitality operators across the country need to prepare for the possibility of these restrictions being enforced in their own local area. That means ensuring they have systems in place to swiftly start or scale-up their takeaway operation at a moment’s notice.”