UKHospitality has said the lifting of Covid restrictions on July 19 will be a “major milestone” and a “critical move that will unleash” the hospitality industry.
The trade body was responding to yesterday’s government announcement that July 19 is set to see the lifting of Covid restrictions.
The final stage of easing, which will be confirmed on Monday, will see government ordered distancing and table service rules lifted, allowing hospitality venues to return to full capacity. From Jul 19 NHS app check-ins will no longer be required, while masks will be worn as a matter of personal judgment rather than by government mandate.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement marks a major milestone in how England will come to live with Covid and will be celebrated by hospitality business owners and their staff across the country. For the vast majority of hospitality businesses, 19th July – if confirmed next week – will be the first time in 16 months that they have been able to realistically look to break even and move towards profitability.
“This progress is testament to the constructive and positive work that we have undertaken with government, to pave the way for this timely handing over of responsibility, shifting from enforced legal requirements to an onus on personal and business responsibilities, to ensure that we continue to safeguard our staff and customers in the tried and tested ways we know work best.
“Hospitality businesses will continue to provide safe and enjoyable experiences as we move into the Summer and beyond and, in doing so, will also safeguard jobs, livelihoods and the venues we cherish so much. In order to do so, venues will need autonomy to act according to their own risk assessments, without local authority gold-plating, and a workable test and trace system that doesn’t demand blanket self-isolation like the test to remain-style system, to ensure that we can both protect our staff but trade with sufficient teams.
“It comes as welcome news that hospitality venues will soon be able to cast off the restrictions that have heavily constrained them commercially. However, the sector has been at the forefront of developing and implementing health and safety measures and initiatives throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so, in order to trade back to prosperity and help drive the national recovery.
“It will still be a long road back for businesses that have been forced to take on debt just to survive, especially with the reintroduction of business rates payments. Nevertheless, this is a critical move that will unleash a sector that is eager to play its part in the wider national recovery, to repay the support afforded it by the government.”