In response to yesterday’s latest developments and regulations from Boris Johnson, AJ Lakes hospitality expert and consultant, Alison Magee-Barker has urged the Chancellor to act again in a bid to save the industry.
In a stark warning, Alison said: “The news yesterday is a devastating blow to an already severely wounded sector. Those in the hospitality industry have worked tirelessly and relentlessly in adapting to an ever-changing set of rules and regulations but my worry is that today’s news could be the final nail in the coffin for many venues.
“Venues have diversified and adapted but imposing these new restrictions as outlined today are a crushing blow. The inconsistency is
becoming too much for the industry to manage. At face value, they may seem achievable to many such as table service only but this means the venue needs to have more staff working to be able to deliver on that service. More staff means it is costing even more to simply be open and this doesn’t make financial sense to venues who have been haemorrhaging cash flow with limited revenue coming in.”
Alison is urging the government to be flexible and to make allowances for the industry before there is a Tsunami of forced closures and even more job losses.
She added: “Initiatives such as furlough could be extended for the hospitality and events industry. Loan repayments on CBLS and Bounce Back loans should be delayed and even consider the introduction of new measures to access finance for those needing an urgent injection of cash to stay afloat would all be welcomed. Support with rent, business rates and a reduction to VAT payments levied would all go some way to protecting and saving our hospitality industry which is on the cusp of disaster.
“As an industry, we absolutely recognise the need to continue to support the government and local communities to manage the risk of rising infection rates. However, Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality and I am at a loss as to understand why introducing a curfew will make any difference. The only difference this makes is to the lack of revenue the venue would benefit from at a critical trading point.
“We have been actively welcoming customers into venues, urging them to eat out to help out and now the rug has firmly been pulled from under them when it doesn’t look like the statistics justify such drastic action.”