Government press conferences are often somewhat staged, like us all they have an agenda. We attended one earlier this afternoon where the agenda and conversation was unusually open, and very positive for hospitality.
The conference call was with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister for London, Paul Scully.
The agenda was set in advance and was to discuss all businesses in England now being able to sign up to the government’s free COVID-19 workplace testing programme. It also addressed the economics of the reopening process and how hospitality would play a vital part in that.
The discussion was frank, and Scully emphasised how testing was particularly encouraged to help identify people that were positive for Covid-19 but remain non symptomatic. The government’s free testing helping to identify people in this category enabling them to self-isolate. Staying away from their workplace until safe to return.
There was also a focus on avoiding unnecessary self-isolation where people feel unwell but not from contracting Covid-19. Testing being the route to accurate diagnosis.
More than 60,000 companies have already registered for the government’s free COVID-19 workplace testing programme, and Scully was keen to encourage even more to do so.
The cautious reopening process and timetable was underlined as essential to avoid the risk of contagion rising again and delaying economic recovery further.
The return to enjoying hospitality, initially outdoors from 12 April in England was discussed and Scully introduced a new government strategy, the hospitality recovery strategy.Paul Scully MP
This was presented as a long term partnership, at least in spirit. Scully showed understanding of what hospitality businesses had been forced to endure throughout the pandemic to date and assured hospitality he was there to help.
The best from the business minister was left to the end, when asked by H&C News publisher, Denis Sheehan if he had a message of reassurance for hospitality, Scully was forthright saying: “We want to make the hospitality sector more resilient, so it’s a great place to get into for a career, and we want to make sure that there is a good career path for young people especially that are looking to the hospitality sector as a place to go and work.”
It was a refreshing take on understanding what hospitality needs.The incoming CEO of the Institute of Hospitality, Robert Richardson
We spoke later to the incoming CEO of the Institute of Hospitality, Robert Richardson, who reflecting on the words of the minister told us: “The Pandemic has seen our industry hit hard, and lockdown sanctions have by no means been slight.
“So now, more than ever, it is vital to maintain and build relations between our industry and Westminster.
“Our elected officials need to understand our craft, and empathise, from a place of understanding, when we face challenges. Mr. Scully’s approach, on the face of it, appears genuine and is to be encouraged.
“Long-term partnership working with government is the only way our businesses will survive the economic challenges, hitherto unrelenting, and move forward into a brave new, post-pandemic, world.
“Today’s meeting appears to be a very promising first step in that direction.”
We can only agree with Richardson, and thank the Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business for his time and empathy.
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: Government’s new ‘hospitality recovery strategy’ a much needed message of assurance. – 29 March 2021 – Government’s new ‘hospitality recovery strategy’ a much needed message of assurance.
Copyright: All content in Hospitality & Catering News is protected by copyright