UKHospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls has reacted to the announcement of a second lockdown for England, saying that is it ‘critical’ for hospitality businesses to be given a lifeline to survive the winter, with viability on a ‘knife edge’ as the new measures prepare to come into force.
Commenting on the Prime Ministers announcement on Saturday, Nicholls, said that the cost to hospitality businesses would be even heavier than the first, and demanded that more support was made available compared to the first lockdown, to ensure the survival of many companies and livelihoods.
She added that it was crucial that the sector was given the support to enter a ‘revival phase in 2021’, and stressed that a clear roadmap out of lockdown will be vital for businesses to plan their recovery.
“The costs to hospitality businesses of a second lockdown will be even heavier than the first, coming after periods of forced closure, the accumulation of mass debt and then significantly lower trading due to the restrictions of recent weeks,” explains Nicholls.
“The sector was hit hardest and first, and this recent shutdown will hurt for months and years to come. The extension of furlough for a further month does help to protect our workforce during this difficult time.
“If hospitality, the sector that is our country’s third largest employer, is to survive and help drive economic recovery, it will need equivalent – or more – support than that of the first lockdown.
“Hospitality businesses have already been pushed to the limits, with many closures already. For those that have survived, viability is on a knife edge, as is the future of the tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on hospitality, including through its supply chain, right across the country.
“It is critical that businesses are given a lifeline to survive the winter, before being given the support to enter a revival phase in 2021, as the nation’s prospects improve. A clear roadmap out of lockdown and through the tiers will also be vital for businesses to plan their survival, and the safeguarding of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“It is important to remember that some parts of hospitality, such as nightclubs, have not even been allowed to re-open. The support for those, now that potential reopening has been kicked further into the future, must be redoubled to ensure that they are not lost forever.”