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Mon 26th Apr 2021 - Boris Johnson shelves covid passports for pubs and restaurants
Boris Johnson shelves covid passports for pubs and restaurants: The Daily Mail has claimed Boris Johnson has shelved plans to introduce covid passports in pubs and restaurants this summer. The newspaper reported: “The Prime Minister has shifted the focus of the controversial scheme away from the hospitality sector, government sources have said. Officials have been ordered to concentrate instead on devising a system that will enable foreign travel and the reopening of sectors like theatres, sports venues and nightclubs. The PM floated the idea of extending a new ‘covid certification scheme’ to the hospitality sector last month, saying it ‘should not be totally alien to us’. And officials suggested that venues deploying the policy could be allowed to relax social distancing rules in return. But with political opposition mounting and the virus in retreat, Mr Johnson is understood to be turning against the idea. One government source said: ‘I would be amazed if we introduce covid certification for hospitality this summer. The focus is more on big events and reopening sectors that we struggled to open last year.’ The Prime Minister hinted at the shift in thinking last week, saying: ‘What we are looking at – what I think any responsible government would look at – is how we use people’s covid status to open up those things that are very tough and did prove very tough to open last year.’ However, sources acknowledged that any scheme could be extended to the hospitality sector if there is a surge in cases later this year. Leading sports bodies – including the Football Association, the Premier League, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Lawn Tennis Association – have urged ministers to investigate a covid certification scheme if it is the only way to get venues full this summer. Any scheme would also allow people to show they have had covid in the previous six months or that they have had a recent negative test, instead of producing their vaccination status. It comes as ministers have faced renewed calls to ditch all social distancing rules in June. In an open letter yesterday, a string of prominent scientists said the government should focus on the vaccine success and lift the restrictions. Signatories include Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on a sub-committee of the government’s Sage group, and Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. But one government adviser disagreed with their calls to lift the rules. Professor Stephen Reicher, of the University of St Andrews, warned: ‘The government delayed taking action in the autumn. Infections soared and we had to impose harsher restrictions for longer. Don’t let these siren voices lead us back into lockdown again.’ ”

Brands with big UK growth plans lead the updated multi-site database, only available to Propel Premium subscribers: The updated Propel Premium multi-site database, which will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (30 April) at midday, has gained an additional 84 companies during the past month, many of which have big growth ambitions in the UK. Subscribers will receive a 4,600-word report on the 84 new brands, concepts and growth companies. They include: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, founded in the US in 1972, has announced plans to enter the UK this year, as has Japanese udon noodles and tempura restaurant company Marugame Udon, with a July opening planned for Spitalfields and a second site at The O2 to follow. Others include Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise Zambrero and South Korea’s leading fried chicken brand Pelicana. Doppio Malto has chosen Glasgow for its first opening in the UK, with the owner citing Italy’s connection with the city for the decision – it is the first of 100 planned sites. Miso Group, co-founded by Canadian chef Adria Wu, is planning a UK rollout of a technology-led Middle Eastern-inspired concept called Operation:Falafel. Hero Brands-operated healthy eating concept Choppaluna has announced a UK rollout, with two London sites being looked at to complement its flagship site in Bloomsbury. The debut site for JiJi’s, a new Israeli-Japanese dining concept, will launch in London’s Islington Square development in June. Meanwhile, Australian entrepreneur Dennis Turner and former Deliveroo global head of restaurant strategy Cengiz Rahmioglu are to launch a Thai-focused concept called Burning Rose. The exhaustive database now holds the details of 1,713 companies – and is only available to Propel Premium subscribers. The go-to database has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector – it provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Premium subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Email to sign up.

Hawthorn buys 14 pubs from Everards: Hawthorn, the community pub company, has bought 14 community pubs from Everards of Leicestershire, the pub operator and family brewer. The pubs are predominantly located in suburban and neighbourhood locations in the East Midlands. Mark Davies, chief executive of Hawthorn, said: “We are really pleased to announce the purchase of 14 high quality community pubs from Everards. All of the pubs which are fully let have been very well operated by Everards and its business owners and we share a strong community ethos with Everards that makes this a seamless transaction for both parties. It’s been great to get to know Stephen Gould and the Everards team through the transaction and to get a deal done during lockdown. The relationship we have built and partnership formed is something that will benefit both companies in the future. My team and I are looking forward to meeting the business owners and welcoming them to Hawthorn.” Stephen Gould, managing director of Everards said: “Following a review of our pub estate, we presented 14 pubs as an acquisition opportunity to Mark and his team and are pleased to get a deal done during lockdown. The whole team at Hawthorn have been a delight to work with and I know that our business owners will be in good hands working with a company with similar values to our own. The deal positions Everards well for continued investment into our Pub Estate, Acquisitions and Everards Meadows, our 90-acre Leisure and Tourism development in Leicestershire.” Hawthorn operates around 700 leased and tenanted, and operator managed, community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales and was advised on the transaction by Colliers. Hawthorn has provided more than £8m of rent support for its Partners and Operators through the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to £10m worth of CAPEX investment over the last year to renovate and refurbish pubs ahead of reopening this spring. These support measures have been met with positive feedback from Partners and Operators – during the first lockdown, 97% of them said that Hawthorn met or exceeded expectations, and KAM Media’s recent Licensee Index saw Hawthorn outperform its peers across a wide range of categories, including covid-19 support (9.2/10), quality of BDM (8.8), and likelihood to recommend the company to other publicans (8.3).

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