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Thu 17th Jun 2021 - Hospitality bosses threaten legal action should July reopening face further delay
Hospitality bosses threaten legal action should July reopening face further delay: Almost 50 hospitality, tourism, weddings and events companies have jointly written to prime minister Boris Johnson to threaten legal action should the July reopening date face further delay. The open letter, led by Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, calls for sector-specific support following the four-week extension to the covid-19 roadmap. Urging the government to reconsider its decision to withhold financial aid, the letter has been signed by industry names including sector investor Luke Johnson, Loungers chairman Alex Reilley, Admiral Taverns chief executive Chris Jowsey, Rekom UK chief executive Peter Marks, Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill, JW Lees managing director William Lees-Jones and Revolution Bars Group chief executive Rob Pitcher. The letter stated: “We wish to put you on notice that Mr Lord and the representatives with whom he is in discussion are jointly considering taking legal action to challenge the government, should the easing of restrictions fail to take place on 19 July as promised. All of these industries have suffered enormously due to the repeated closures and reopenings, the ongoing lack of certainty, draconian social distancing measures and the illogical rules implemented and then removed, as areas have grappled with the constantly changing tier systems, and the local and national lockdowns. The restrictions with which these businesses have had to comply have often been entirely illogical and arbitrary in nature, and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of how their various sectors function. It has been impossible for the affected sectors to operate anywhere near their pre-covid levels and, for each day that the covid restrictions remain in place, sectors such as hospitality continue to suffer enormous losses. The treatment of these sectors’ employees and business owners is deplorable and cannot continue. Industries such as hospitality, events, exhibitions and travel simply cannot endure further hardship.” Lord, who successfully pushed the government to drop the 10pm curfew and substantial meal restriction, said: “As of the end of the month, we’ll not only see a 10% increase in furlough contributions, but the relief rate for hospitality drops from 100% to 66%. Factor in that huge parts of the nightlife sector are not even open yet and we have a clear and inevitable crisis about to take place. We demand absolute confirmation we will reopen on 19 July and we need urgent financial support to give businesses the best possible chance to survive until then.” Kill added: “The 11th hour delay to reopening announced by the prime minister on Monday (14 June) was yet another devastating blow to nightlife businesses and the government then rubbed salt into the wounds by indicating support programmes such as furlough and business rates relief would not be extended. Our sector simply cannot countenance another delay. That is why today, along with a number of trade bodies and businesses from other affected sectors, we are putting the government on notice we intend to take legal action should they deviate from the extended roadmap with full reopening on 19 July.”

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