The CEO of Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) has reacted to the delay in lockdown easing.
Jane Pendlebury commented, “It’s easy for the uninitiated to presume that simply because hotels, restaurants, pubs and other businesses are already open and trading that any extension of restrictive measures is a relatively minor inconvenience. The fact is though that most of these businesses are currently trading at a loss.
'Social distancing measures limit hugely the margins at which hospitality can operate. Many of these businesses have reopened with a reduced ability to trade, but all this does is mitigate the losses of total closure. They’re not even breaking even, let alone making anything close to a profit.'
Pendlebury continued, 'The Government also needs to consider the heavy investment in meeting the current requirements, which is just compounding the losses caused by limited trading. These investments were made in the expectation it would be a short-term solution with long-term relief imminent. If the measures are extended, we will need additional sector specific support – including for payroll – otherwise many, many businesses will go bust.
'There’s also consumer confidence to consider. Will the extension of measures make the nervous even more nervous? Many hotels rely on certain demographics, and the latest updates will make some of these even more fearful to engage with hospitality – whereas the lifting of measures may have tempted some back.'
'Pendlebury ended, 'The truth is it’s likely to be another terrible blow in a long line of terrible blows, all of which have forced hospitality businesses to close permanently. I fear this announcement will cause another round of previously viable businesses to close when they’d hoped the end really was in sight – something that makes it all the harder to take.”