UKHospitality reacts to removing of restrictions

UKHospitality has welcomed the news that many Covid restrictions will be lifting on 19th July as planned – in both Scotland and England.

Yesterday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland will be moving to level zero of restrictions. As a result, increased numbers of people will be allowed to meet indoors, though limits on outdoor meetings remain. The return of office workers will also be delayed.

She added that the wearing of masks would have to say place for the foreseeable future, adding that the plan now is to move beyond level zero on 9th August.

Responding to the first minister’s statement, Leon Thompson, UKHospitality Scotland executive director, said: “The move to Level zero – with a few modifications – for all of Scotland is very welcome and allows some of our members to finally reopen after many, many months of closure. They will be relieved.

“However, hospitality continues to trade in a very difficult environment, which will not improve until all major restrictions are removed. We had hoped to hear something definite on this. Instead, businesses burdened with expensive short-term debt will continue to struggle, unable to break even while ongoing and seemingly endless restrictions continue.

“Again, the announcement had nothing on financial support for Scotland’s hospitality businesses, which are now set to fall further behind businesses in England. UKHospitality Scotland will continue to press the Scottish government on this crucial point. A new package of support can make the difference between survival and closure for some businesses.”

On the situation in England – where the prime minister recently confirmed that we can remove most of the remaining restrictions as planned on 19th July – Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, commented: “Confirmation that social distancing measures will be lifted next Monday brings huge relief for hospitality venues hoping to finally head back towards normal trading in England. For the first time in 16 months, they will be able to move towards profitability, which is vital for the future of a sector beset by Covid-related debts.

“For profitability to be reached as soon as possible, it’s vital that businesses are able to reach their own solutions, to suit their settings, satisfy their risk assessments and optimise implementation costs while ensuring safety. The voluntary nature of the government guidance should ensure that this is achievable.”

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