UKH calls on Government to confirm hospitality reopening date

UKHospitality has called upon Government to confirm a reopening date for hospitality and tourism, to allow businesses to prepare for a return to trading.

Following yesterday’s announcement of a review of social distancing requirements, the trade body has written to Secretaries of State at BEIS and DCMS, to reiterate the urgent need for clarity in order to reactivate workers and resume business.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said, “We need confirmation of the reopening date for hospitality businesses without any further delay. Businesses need time to prepare and the first step in giving them some much-needed clarity is confirmation of when they can open their doors again.

“This is particularly important for hotels and tourism, where 60% of bookings are made more than two weeks in advance. If the sector is to reopen on 4 July, that only gives us two weeks from this weekend, so time is of the essence.

'Friday’s GDP figures – with hospitality and tourism representing a quarter of the total decline – illustrated the powerful economic might of the sectors, so the country can ill afford delaying their return to trading.'

Nicholls continued, “A review of the two-metre social distancing rule is a positive show of intent for hospitality but with less than three weeks to the proposed re-opening date for our sector, a crucial element of certainty is conspicuously absent.

'If we want the reopening to be a success, we must have confirmation of the reopening date, alongside COVID secure guidelines for the sector.'

Nicholls finished that this needed to be supported by a commitment from the Government to support tourism and hospitality businesses through a cut in tourism VAT and Air Passenger Duty, an extension of the rent moratorium to protect from landlord activity and the creation of an autumn Bank Holiday.