Yesterday hundreds of hospitality workers gathered in front of the Houses of Parliament to urge the government to its approach to the sector by easing restrictions and bolstering financial support.
HospoDemo took place in Parliament Square for the second time on Monday, with protesters from across the hospitality sector coming together to stress how the rules and restrictions on their businesses were having an impact.
Demonstrators represented their trades and, equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons and other props, made as much noise as possible at 11am to ensure the message was heard by MPs.
Boutique Hotelier was there to show solidarity for the sector. Speaking to Alessandro Palazzi, head bartender at Dukes Hotel in London, he said he was there to ‘support his colleagues’ and that the hotel had made the decision to close until January.
“We are on furlough, but we are losing the service charge. A lot of people are losing jobs – when we reopened, we had to kick everyone out at 10pm. One time I left the hotel at 10.15pm and it was like New Year’s Eve; the tube was packed.
“Also, the pressure we’ve been put under, changing so many proceeds and spend money, then you go to supermarkets and there is nothing there, no Track and Trace, nothing.”
HospoDemo has been organised by long-standing industry marketer, Rachel Harty. Addressing the crowd yesterday, she said: “The government would have heard you today! We’ll be delivering a letter to Boris later, outlining our demands, which are to firstly review the current restrictions that are devastating our industry and to provide financial survival package to save our businesses and our jobs.
“We understand how desperate the situation has become for so many of you and please know we stand in solidarity with you and will keep fighting until the hospitality industry receives the help it deserves.”
Hospitality is the UK’s third largest industry and accounts for 10% of all employment, not to mention thousands of ancillary businesses whose survival depends on outlets staying open.
The restrictions imposed as part of the latest tier system are seen by many across the industry as the final straw, robbing them of crucial Christmas trading that contributes up to 40% of annual profits even though huge investments have been made by operators to create Covid-secure venues.