From the start of the pandemic, hospitality has borne the brunt of the restrictions. It is an industry reliant on being able to bring people together – whether for food, for drinks or just for fun.
Preparing to open back up at the start of July, hospitality businesses spent huge sums to become COVID compliant and to ensure they could deliver a safe return. There were still huge concerns. Could they turn a profit on 30-50% occupancy? Could they survive without commuter footfall? Could they ensure a fantastic experience whilst meeting regulatory standards?
By and large, they came back fighting and absolutely determined to save their businesses and the industry as a whole. Inevitably, even with the support of furlough and government schemes, there were redundancies and closures.
The sector has regularly called for extensions to support to avoid further job losses but have been told they are not “viable”. The Winter Economy Package is not enough for these venues to weather the storm.
And then. The ten o’clock curfew.
Brought in without any scientific backing or financially modelling, the curfew will be the death knoll for many businesses. It cuts trading hours, reduces customer confidence and, ironically, drives people out of safe, regulated environments and into huge crowds.
We had hoped when filming this roundtable (on Monday 28th September) that it would almost immediately be out of date. Sadly, it isn’t and, whilst a difficult watch, we highly encourage you to listen to the impact it’s having.
Thank you so much to Lucy Noone-Blake for chairing and to Abi Dunn – Sixty Eight People, Felicity Tulloch – Kuits Solicitors and Andrew Strugnell – Arc Inspirations for sharing their expertise.
There are a number of things you can do to help in this crisis: