UKHospitality says the expected month-long delay to the easing of restrictions in England (currently scheduled for June 21) could cost the sector as much as £3bn in lost sales and around 300,000 jobs.
While the details have yet to be published, this evening Boris Johnston is expected to delay the final easing of restrictions by a month in order to further progress the vaccination programme.
The trade body says hospitality has already lost £87bn in sales, “leaving businesses in debt and at risk of suffering economic long Covid”.
With venue capacities hampered by 1m-plus distancing restrictions and groups limited to six from two households, the hospitality sector has been downtrading to the tune of 42%, according to UKHospitality.
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said: “The government has a balance to strike but due to the amazing efforts of the NHS in rolling out vaccines, it is time to lift the restrictions that are crushing businesses.
“A full and final ending of restrictions is the only way to ensure that businesses in this sector can trade profitably. If Government decides it has to keep some restrictions in place after 21st June, then it must prioritise those that do the least damage to business and commit to further supporting the sector.
“Confidence has been shaken so it is imperative that Government postpones business rates payments until at least October and extend the rent and debt moratoria for hospitality businesses while a long-term solution to Covid arrears is found.
“Businesses need a swift, publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of any delays, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading. Hospitality is desperate to get back to what it does best and can play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK - but only if it is given permission to trade and proper support.”