Coronavirus: Will the hospitality industry be able to start reopening in July?

The  Staff Canteen

There was a glimmer of hope for hospitality following Boris Johnson’s public address yesterday when he laid out plans for lifting the Coronavirus lockdown.

He told viewers the ‘hospitality industry could begin to reopen from July with social distancing measures in place’.

This will come in stage three of the plan to lift the lockdown, which was implemented to control the spread of coronavirus, and will be dependent on the government's five conditions being met.

The prime minister stressed that social distancing will remain in place and would be implemented in those hospitality businesses permitted to welcome guests, if the fall in cases allows them to begin reopening from July.

 

No further details on what the relaxation of restrictions on hospitality businesses could look like, or which areas of the sector they would apply to, were given.

It's also been speculated, changes to the furlough scheme could be announced by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, as soon as today.

According to The Telegraph, ‘ministers are expected to extend the state bankrolling of wages until the end of September, at a reduced rate of 60pc, while also topping up the pay packets of staff brought back to work on a part-time basis’.

The industry along with all businesses around the UK are simply trying to survive so to have some idea of a reopening month is a small positive. However, the announcement did produce a mixed responses with many feeling the message ‘was not clear’.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of Hospitality said: “ Saving lives and restoring livelihoods is a tricky balancing act but the sketch of a roadmap is very helpful in allowing businesses to start to plan for a progressive reopening - at the right time and in the right way.”

She added: “The Prime Minister gave us a sense of the shape of his plan and the journey ahead. Much detail will follow but the focus on saving lives, and saving livelihoods, is an important and positive basis for progress.

“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.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th May 2020

Coronavirus: Will the hospitality industry be able to start reopening in July?