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Industry to protest outside Parliament today as Mayor of London shows support for the sector

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Today, the hospitality industry will gather outside Parliament to protest against the Covid restrictions placed on the sector impacting pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels in England.

HospoDemo protestors from all corners of the industry will come together to represent their trades, dressed in uniform, equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons and other hospitality-related props, to make themselves heard.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he supported the industry who are ‘deeply anxious’ about the future.

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He says: “The huge failures in the test and trace system have meant that further COVID restrictions are now necessary, but our bars, restaurants and other venues must now get the extra financial support they need urgently to stay afloat. 

“The 80 per cent furlough scheme was a lifeline for many businesses at the start of the pandemic, and it is this level of support London’s hospitality sector now needs to prevent further widespread unemployment and ensure this world-leading sector can return to business when the virus is under control.

“Until the government gets a grip on this virus, ministers have an obligation to give businesses the support they need to survive while restrictions remain in place.”

 Expected attendees include chefs Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens and Jillian MacLean. All attendees have been advised to adhere to social distancing measures and to come wearing a face covering.

HospoDemo has been organised by long-standing industry marketer, Rachel Harty, who was on the launch team for hospitality members’ club, TRADE and previously head of marketing & events for Imbibe and Square Meal.

Commenting on the initiative, she said: “The blows that have been dealt to the UK hospitality industry over the last six months have caused a great deal of frustration and hardship. Hospitality outlets have responded by investing heavily in safety measures to enable staff to return to work, and to encourage customers back through the door. However, the recent 10pm curfew and increasing local lockdowns have created an existential threat to a large proportion of hospitality businesses.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, said: “It’s no surprise to us that our colleagues from the beleaguered hospitality industry wish to express themselves in this way and we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of them.

“Businesses are feeling the cumulative impact of all the restrictions placed on them, and have really suffered since the introduction of the curfew, which has had a severe and devastating impact. Now with the introduction of the tiers system, we are reaching the point of no return for many.  Many are trading unsustainably and at a fraction of their pre-Covid levels.”

The HospoDemo peaceful protest will take place in Parliament Square on Monday 19th October from 10.30am to 12pm.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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