A new report says that hospitality businesses were not significant in covid transmission in 2020 and argues they should be central to re-opening plans in 2021.

Kate Nicholls tea
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls: ‘Hospitality can lead the economic recovery of the country.’

The report was commissioned by UKHospitality from analyst CGA. According to the study:

  • The UK hospitality market saw a 54% fall in sales in 2020, equivalent to £71.8bn in sales lost versus 2019
  • Hospitality was not a significant area of covid transmission in 2020
  • It will not be responsible for significant transmission in spring 2021 and beyond
  • Reports linking the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to a rapid rise in covid cases were linked to a single, discredited study
  • Hospitality is uniquely well placed to maintain and enforce covid-19 mitigation measures and should not be held back from re-opening. It should be seen as equally high priority as non-essential retail and next in line after priority sectors such as schools.

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The result of the lockdowns and the restrictions placed on the sector last year was crippling. Business was devastated to an extent hitherto unimaginable. Many businesses are barely surviving and cannot afford another year with restrictions on the scale of 2020.

“Re-opening has to be done correctly at the first time of asking. A barrier to that could be the incorrect assumption that our businesses pose a risk to public health. We know that hospitality businesses are safe and all the data has shown we are not a significant area of transmission. This report is a vindication of everything we have been saying and a forceful argument for allowing us to re-open and welcome back our customers.

“Hospitality can lead the economic recovery of the country. We can provide jobs to people who have lost them and host millions who are desperate for some enjoyment after a torrid year. This report shows we can do it safely, too. The government should take note and ensure it allows hospitality to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.”

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