Hoteliers in London and Essex have reacted to the news yesterday that both areas are to move to Tier 2 of the new Covid-19 restrictions.
Moving up from Tier 1 on Friday at 12am, the new rules mean that people will be banned from mixing households indoors, whether it is in a home or in a hospitality setting.
Pubs, restaurants and hotels will be able to stay open but only serve and host people in groups from the same household. The 10pm curfew also remains.
Stuart Johnson, managing director at Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, in London, told BH: “The Tier 2 for London is a undoubtedly going to affect business levels and consumer confidence the restrictions on dining will place businesses really in tier three but without any government support. The encouragement to work from home and not to use public transport will lower possible footfall in the city.”
Sally Beck, general manager at Lancaster London, told BH: “We need the government to help hospitality properly – in Europe the short time job support scheme offers 67% of pay and is all paid by the governments in France and Belgium. Here the scheme is capped and the employer pays 55% – in our hotel I can’t make that work and can’t use it, so we are on our own. They are not listening and we need them to have a Minister for Hospitality or listen to Kate Nichols properly – we are the 3rd largest employer and they are actually pushing a lot of us under with their ignorance and arrogance.”
Paul Skinner, general manager at Dukes London, says: “The move to tier two restrictions for London’s hospitality business will add even more misery to already struggling hotel operations. At Dukes London the Rule of Six and the 10pm curfew had already incurred heavy income losses on The Dukes Bar and the hotels outlets and Private Dining facilities. The latest restrictions will only further inhibit our ability to capture what remains of a significantly impacted customer base and I am concerned over the future of being able to welcome resident guests and visitors to the hotel, as the burden of COVID-19’s second wave takes an unprecedented toll on the hospitality industry.”
Taking to LinkedIn, Andrew Coney, general manager at The Hari in Belgravia wrote: “Another crushing blow to London hospitality. Despite all our efforts to ensure our spaces are safe for our guests, this move to Tier 2 is full lockdown in all but name without any financial support, socialising cancelled. Does public transport or any supermarkets maintain the levels of hygiene and distancing that hotels do?”
In Essex, Ken Flockhart, general manager at Down Hall hotel told BH: “Here at Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate we are well placed to provide a safe environment for our guests and visitors, having hosted the Great British Bake Off this summer in a Covid free bio bubble. Whilst today’s news that the county of Essex moves into tier 2 on High alert is concerning, we remain committed to providing the same very high standard of service to our guests as we always have done. Fortunately, the restrictions imposed on weddings and business meetings are the same in tier 2 as they are in tier 1 and so our doors remain open for these events as they have been for the past two months.”
Elmbridge in Surrey was also moved to Tier 2 of the restrictions.
It was expected that with yesterday’s announcement from Matt Hancock, Manchester was to move into Tier 3. However the decision is being met with strong opposition from local leaders including MP for Manchester Andy Burnham, who are demanding further support for businesses before any changes are enforced.