Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that several areas, including London, will be moving to tier 2 of the national covid response.
Matt Hancock: new tier 2 areas announced today
Also moving to tier 2 are Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, north east Derbyshire, Erewash, and Chesterfield.
Talking specifically about London, UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Being moved into tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier 3. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.
“Venues in London have already taken a hit due to the dip in inbound tourism, and with people increasingly working from home. A move into tier 2 will now be catastrophic for some of them and it is only going to be made worse by the end of the furlough scheme in under two weeks.
“The government must remove employer contributions from the Job Support Scheme for hospitality or apply tier 3 job support to tier 2 businesses. If it does not, we are looking at catastrophic businesses closures and widespread job losses in the capital as early as 1st November.”
On finance, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Beer and Pub Association agreed. Talking about tier 2 areas generally, she added: “Tier 2 restrictions will decimate pubs, brewers, and their supply chains in these regions, unless a proper package of support is given to them.
“All pubs are already particularly struggling, due to the current restrictions of the 10pm curfew, rule of six, and low consumer confidence, exacerbated by low footfall caused by a lack of tourists and commuters. These further restrictions will leave most pubs fighting for their very survival.
“Tier 2 measures mean pubs can remain open, but households cannot mix inside them. This completely kills our pubs’ business model, making many of them totally unviable, yet under tier 2 restrictions they are not eligible for any additional financial support from government, unlike in tier 3, where additional support is provided. The knock-on effect to brewers and pubs’ supply chain partners will devastate them too without more support.
“Without additional financial support, specifically access to financial grants and a job retention scheme closer to that in tier three, many pubs will be closing their doors for good.”