The new three tier system of Covid-19 measures announced today by the prime minister, quashed any hopes of a Christmas for hospitality.
Having borne the economic brunt of lockdown to date, for any remaining optimists in hospitality hoping for a ray of light, it was promptly extinguished.
Announcing the government’s Covid-19 Winter Plan to parliament, the prime minister said he would ease the hardship for some sectors, by reopening shops and gyms and letting crowds return to sporting events in their thousands, but with tougher rules applied to one, hospitality.
How letting thousands of people into football stadiums is safer than letting single numbers sit at a restaurant table really does stretch the imagination.
There is also a change to the previous 10pm curfew closing time for pubs and restaurants, to now stop serving at 10pm, but allow people to drink up until 11pm. This does help with a more balanced dispersal, at least in theory, but does nothing to improve trade.
We are delighted to report that the Prime Minister received a speedy riposte to the changes from some MPs. Leading the response was Chair of the Covid Recovery Group, now numbering 70 Tory backbench members, Mark Harper MP. Harper said he could not guarantee the group’s support for the new system.
Hotelier Stuart Procter, COO of The Stafford Collection like us was disheartened by todays news and told us: “Personally, I’m dismayed by the new tiering system. You can now go out shopping on busy Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street – or in any city centre – however you may not be able to go to a hotel, a restaurant which have shown that they are not the cause or spread of this pandemic and offer a safe environment. However if you’re in Tier 1 you can go to a sporting event with up to 4,000 people, in Tier 2 a sporting event up to 2,00 people, and yet you are only allowed a table of six in a restaurant. There is zero logic being applied here.”
Nick Mackenzie, Greene King chief executive, was similarly disappointed saying: “Yet again, the UK pubs sector must pick itself up off the floor after another crushing blow. We’ve invested millions of pounds to make our pubs safe throughout this pandemic but today it feels like pubs have been unfairly singled out once again with increased restrictions that will make pubs across the country unviable through the most important month of the year.
“Pubs play a key role in combatting loneliness and isolation and we have followed all the government’s requirements to ensure our pubs are well-regulated and Covid-secure environments for friends and families to stay connected as we approach Christmas.
“Safety is paramount but restrictions must be proportionate and not put hundreds of thousands of people’s jobs at risk across the hospitality industry.
“We welcome the news about the curfew but it has limited benefit when pubs are closed in Tier 3 and unable to serve alcohol unless it’s with food in Tier 2. We ask the government to reconsider disproportionate measures, such as banning the sale of alcohol in Tier 2 unless it’s with a substantial meal, and work constructively with the hospitality sector to find solutions that not only protect lives but also protect livelihoods through to next spring.”
The hospitality industry has been staring into the abyss for months, and repetitive headlines anticipate and warn of the demise of hospitality. These new measures can only accelerate the reporting of the later as a fact.
News from the hospitality and catering industry is also being featured extensively in our Facebook and twitter social media accounts with the opportunity to engage with others in hospitality and share your views.
Hospitality & Catering News: New tier system places hospitality closer to the edge of the abyss – 23 November 2020 – New tier system places hospitality closer to the edge of the abyss.
Copyright: All content in Hospitality & Catering News is protected by copyright.