'Hospitality is being made to pay a very high price with no extra support'

The Staff Canteen

Lancashire will move in to Tier 3 lockdown restrictions from midnight joining Liverpool in the closure of pubs and bars which do not serve food.

Yesterday it was confirmed London was to go into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from midnight on today, meaning the capital’s 9 million residents will no longer be meeting other households in their homes or other indoor spaces.

The escalation in controls over social and economic life was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock in a statement to the House of Commons, he also confirmed the tighter restrictions would be applied in Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, north-east Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield.

A decision is yet to be made on other areas of the country with rapidly increasing infection rates. Matt Hancock said: “I know theses restrictions are difficult for people and I hate the fact we have to bring them in. But it is essential we bring them in both to keep people safe and to prevent greater economic damage in the future."

Areas in the “high” Covid alert level, means residents will be banned from socialising with anyone from outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Talking to The Staff Canteen this morning chefs and restaurant owners, Tom Aikens and Robin Gill expressed their concern over bookings and customer confidence due to the new restrictions. Both chefs confirmed that every time the rules change cancellations happen instantly.

Robin said: “We’re already struggling with having to police people wearing masks in restaurants. The restrictions are causing a lot of confusion and distress to staff. They are having to deal with customers and tell them what they can and can’t do and that’s not hospitality.

“We want to welcome people to the restaurant to have a good time, we are in hospitality not hospitals. We are doing everything we are asked to keep everyone safe, but customers are still confused and they are taking it out on our teams.

“The knock-on effect is customers are just not confident in going out anymore. So, naturally restaurants are going to get quieter which will result in job losses – it’s very frustrating.

“How do we police households not mixing, do we have to interrogate them as they come in just to check?”

Tom added: “There’s enough pressure and stress on the industry already and it’s us who suffer business-wise because people will be put off from going out.”

Reacting to the announcement, Kate Nicholls from UKHospitality tweeted: “This could well be the death knell for many hospitality businesses - a move into Tier 2 wipes a further 15% off very low revenues (just 20-30% in London) and many closing fully under Tier 3 will not recover. Support measures urgently needed to avoid mass redundancies.”

Adding: “Catastrophic announcement for London hospitality which is seeing revenues drop by between 60-85% making jobs unviable without additional support - facing mass redundancies from end of the month unless fictional rethinks end of furlough for hospitality.”

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th October 2020

'Hospitality is being made to pay a very high price with no extra support'