The Prime Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to re-open hospitality businesses “no earlier than 4th July”, but the industry is a long way from satisfied.
Alex Reilley, executive chairman at Loungers, Tweeted: “When it comes to the complete lack of guidance about re-opening, I don’t think hospitality is feeling particularly thankful of the government at the moment, if I’m honest.”
Fuller’s chief executive, Simon Emeny, agreed, replying: “Given the sector’s perilous financial position, why should we be expected to now increase debt further and confuse colleagues and customers for a date that government won’t commit to?”
And St Austell Brewery chief executive, Kevin Georgel, added: “Totally agree guys, making a bad situation worse. We appreciate this is challenging for the government. Throughout the crisis the industry has been very supportive and constructive, but we now feel completely let down. Not too late to change that @BorisJohnson @beisgovuk.”
UKHospitality has welcomed the publication of reopening guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses by the Scottish government. It says the guidance will provide clarity and certainty for businesses with an indicative start date of 15th July.
But the trade body has signalled its disappointment that the opening of outdoor areas for pubs and restaurants will not be confirmed until 2nd July, two weeks later than expected.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, added: “Pubs and bars across Scotland will be somewhat disappointed by this announcement, with many expecting to be given a definitive date today for re-opening their outdoor space to allow them to start preparing to open again.
“That’s sadly not the case, with these businesses now having to wait a further two weeks before any clarity on when they can welcome back their customers into beer gardens and other outdoor areas.”
Ten Points to Save Pubs
Meanwhile, the newly-launched Campaign for Pubs has published its Ten Points to Save Pubs. They are:
- A definite date for opening, now!
- Social distancing of one metre
- Clear full guidance for pubs and insurance companies
- Relaxation of restrictions to allow all space to be used
- A mandatory Covid-19 rent code and statutory right to rent review for all pub tenants
- A rent-free period for all pubs and protection from landlords if rent cannot be paid
- Furlough where pubs are unable to viably/safely trade due to government restrictions
- VAT to 5% for at least 12 months
- Business rates reform and rates relief for all pubs until a reformed system comes in
- A 12-month ban on all change of use for pubs