The announcements yesterday by Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock increasing the restrictions on hospitality will be the final nail in all too many hospitality businesses across the UK.
Whilst most in hospitality will recognise they are fuelled by growing health concerns, there is not sufficient economic support at the same time from Government to mitigate their actions.
The final nail and many similar phrases have been used frequently, but without urgent economic intervention by Government an avalanche of viable businesses will collapse as a direct result of the restrictions.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “These urgent restrictive actions require equally urgent accompanying financial supports for businesses, many more of which have been flung closer to commercial failure.
“Many more pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, having invested so much to make their venues safe, are now looking at indefinite and total loss of trading. They need an immediate message that at the very least, the 5% VAT rate and business rates holiday will remain throughout next year, supported by an urgent package of survival grants, so that they can try to plan strategies to save their businesses.”
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The update on the virus and associated tier restrictions today is yet another blow to a sector already on its knees. It is clear that it is going to be the longest winter in living memory for Britain’s pubs and brewers. Unless there is a greater package of financial support from the Government to secure our pubs and the brewers that supply them, a wave of business failures in the New Year is inevitable.”
Reactions on social media have been angry, as people left with little hope of returning to work post festive season vent their frustrations.
Hospitality businesses have survived through the past year largely due to pragmatic stewardship, tenacity, and ingenuity. The laws of economics however cannot be defied, the forced absence of paying customers will see doors close never to be reopened.
For far too many this could be the last call on economic support for hospitality, unless it is provided.