Earlier this afternoon in his statement to the House of Commons the Prime Minister outlined new incoming measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. He announced that many areas of England will now face stringent restrictions under a new three-tier set of measures, labelled – medium – high – or very high.
Liverpool was the only part of England to immediately move into the ‘very high’ tier 3 category, seeing all pubs and bars closed. The programme for implementation will be debated and voted on in the Commons tomorrow, and then if passed, come into force on Wednesday.
Manchester was expected by many to also move into the ‘very high’ tier 3 category but was spared for the time being at least. The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham was pleased the government didn’t close pubs and bars in the region, for now. But warned the area of Greater Manchester could still move to tier 3 if transmission numbers don’t improve. Burnham has been a champion of hospitality in recent weeks and following today’s announcement vowed he would also keep pushing for improved support for local businesses impacted by government measures.
The differences in precisely how areas were selected are vague, but the Prime Minister did refer to ‘negotiations’ with local authorities on tier 2 and 3 locations. Labour and Conservative MPs and council leaders in Greater Manchester fought hard alongside Burnham against being put into tier 3.
The Prime Minister came under scrutiny from Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer and some of his own MPs. There was a focus in questioning from both sides of the house on the ongoing impact to hospitality businesses.
It was another difficult day for hospitality with UKHospitality warning of a lack of support for hospitality businesses located in areas now covered by tiers 1 and 2.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The impact of all of these restrictions is huge and we are quickly reaching the point of no return for many businesses.
“For those businesses in tier 3 areas, forced to close their doors again, things look bleak but the support announced last week for closed businesses will hopefully give them the breathing room they need to survive another lockdown.
“There is currently a concerning lack of support on offer for hospitality businesses in tier 2, and to a lesser extent tier 1, despite their facing restrictions that is seeing trade down by between 40% to 60%. They will have the worst of both worlds, operating under significant restrictions without the financial support on offer to tier 3 businesses. Without enhanced grant support and enhanced Government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many are going to fall by the wayside.
“It is time for the Government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew in those areas where COVID rates are low. It was imposed without credible evidence that hospitality is the source of increases in transmission, while some evidence points the other way. To leave hospitality out to dry would be a grave and risky move and would cost many people their jobs.”
Many in hospitality will later this evening watch the prime Minister address the country, there could be more details, and hopefully more facts behind the decisions.
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Hospitality & Catering News: Government local lockdowns hospitality– 12 October 2020 – Government local lockdowns hospitality
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