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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 5th Jul 2021 - Sector leaders hail plans to lift all restrictions on 19 July as ‘major milestone’ but warn of long road ahead
Sector leaders hail plans to lift all restrictions on 19 July as ‘major milestone’ but warn of long road ahead: Sector leaders have welcomed Boris Johnson’s announcement on the lifting of restrictions as a “major milestone” on Monday, 19 July, but warned of a long road ahead. In a press conference on Monday (5 July), prime minister Johnson proposed nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and hospitality sites will not be required to ask customers for proof that they have had covid vaccines. Additionally, restrictions such as the one-metre-plus rule, mandatory wearing of face masks, table service-only and the limits on number of people meeting indoors and outdoors will end on 19 July. Johnson said the final decision would be made on Monday (12 July). UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls 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, 19 July – if confirmed next week – will be the first time in 16 months they have been able to realistically look to break even and move towards profitability. 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 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.” The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the announcement meant 2,000 more pubs would finally be able to reopen but warned the lifting of restrictions would mark only the beginning of the sector’s recovery from covid-19. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The lifting of all remaining restrictions on pubs in England, if the Government sticks to its roadmap, is hugely welcome for our sector. After nearly 18 months of forced closure or operating under severe restrictions – which crippled the viability of pubs – 19 July should mark the beginning of the recovery for our sector in England. Over 2,000 pubs remained closed because they couldn’t viably operate with social distancing and table service-only. Hopefully from 19 July, these pubs will be able to reopen.” British Institute of Innkeeping chief executive Steve Alton said: “The road to recovery can start but will be hard fought and will require ongoing support. With it, pubs can bounce back and be at the heart of the recovery, supporting jobs and careers in every community.” Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “To be rubber stamped next Monday: 19 July, social distancing, track and trace, QR codes, table service, all gone. Let’s not call this Freedom Day, let’s call it Recovery Day. An historic moment for the sector and a release for people’s mental health. Now the hard work starts. Just like the financial crisis of 2008, the impact of the covid crisis will be felt for many years to come. It is imperative the government continues to support the sectors most affected by this crisis, in order to stave off a generation of unemployment and bankruptcy.”

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