The press conference held this evening by the government confirmed what had already been reported earlier today, a full month of lockdown for the hospitality industry in England.
The lockdown will see all restaurants, hotels and pubs across England close their doors next Thursday, unable to open again before 2nd December.
Boris Johnson chaired a cabinet meeting earlier today to discuss and decide on measures, and will make a statement to Parliament on Monday.
The press conference saw the Prime Minister flanked by his chief medical and Scientific advisors present the latest data alongside projections from multiple government sources. All slides showed increases in Covid-19 transmissions and stark projections of hospital admissions.
The Prime Minister presented the choices he and his Cabinet colleagues had made, including the move from local tiered measures to national ones.
What the conference did lack was any substantial evidence of improvements in track and trace, vital to controlling further spread, and an eventual route map out of lockdown.
Immediately following the news of lockdown, UKHospitality issued the following statement: “Public health objectives are, rightly, the motive for the new measures, and for that reason we entirely support whatever proportionate action is necessary.
“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. 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.”
The conference also lacked any mention of support for businesses but, as you will see in our latest news, shortly after the PM finished, Rishi Sunak made an announcement on twitter.