UKHospitality launches new campaign to support the sector’s roadmap to restart business

Hospitality businesses having been told they could reopen as early as 4 July 2020 if they are able to do so safely (as previously reported by us here), UKHospitality has today (20 May 2020) launched its #FAIR4Hospitality campaign with the following announcement:

UKH calls on Government to be #FAIR4Hospitality and support the sector’s roadmap to restart

Government at Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality this summer, for the benefit of local communities, peoples’ jobs, national wellbeing and the British economy. That’s the central message of a new campaign launched today (20 May) by trade body UKHospitality to highlight that businesses are ready to reopen in a safe and sustainable way given the right government support.

UKHospitality represents tens of thousands of outlets in a diverse and dynamic sector that in normal times employs in excess of three million people and generates £39bn of tax for the Exchequer.

With the Prime Minister setting out a roadmap for the sector to restart and proposals soon to emerge in Scotland, the #FAIR4Hospitality campaign outlines four primary areas in which Government can deliver for Britain and allow hospitality to play a leading role in the recovery:

  • Wellbeing: Endorse the sector’s best-practice protocols and risk assessments for a COVID Secure restart
  • Workers: Ensure the furlough scheme is retained at full rate for hospitality until businesses successfully restart
  • Communities: Regulate to provide equitable solutions on rent payments for the remainder of the year and a solution to address debt and costs for business
  • Consumers: Cut the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses to help boost confidence and incentivise visits to tourist destinations.

As a first step, UKHospitality has submitted its best practice health and safety protocols to ministers for endorsement, which emphasise that the sector needs flexibility to operate safely and should not be constricted by a one-size-fits-all approach given the diversity of businesses covered.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact, with a 21% decline in hospitality trade in the first three months of 2020 as the industry moved into lockdown – 10 times worse than the whole economy. In the second quarter there has been a near wipe-out of trade; around a third of businesses believe they will never reopen some sites. Even while closed, the sector faces further costs – with no revenue and bills of up to £1 billion in rent and other overheads in the second quarter of the year.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality Chief Executive, said:

“Hospitality needs the UK and devolved governments to help us deliver for our customers, our employees, local communities and the wellbeing of the nation. We will be ready to restart (in England on 4th July and other parts of the country when allowed), but for the entire country to come together again after lockdown, governments must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality and all those who rely on it. The sector provides jobs and livelihoods in every city, town and village. But we are more than that, our venues are where communities come together – our doors reopening will be a true measure of national recovery. It is vital that reopening is done in the right way, at the right time and with the right support so that our industry can help rebuild shattered consumer confidence and bring the nation back together safely over the coming months. The summer is a crucial time for the sector. The Great British public deserve safe accommodation, eating and drinking out experiences, holidays and leisure time; the financial cost is a justified investment in our nation’s wellbeing and the future of the economy.”

Best practice health and safety protocols

Taking into account social distancing requirements, the above-mentioned best practice health and safety protocols include proposals that will help hospitality businesses to complete their own risk assessments including:

  • encouragement of table service in pubs where possible to avoid customers gathering at the bar,
  • discouragement of customers returning their empty glasses,
  • spacing tables 2 metres apart,
  • reduction of menus to help keep kitchen staff away from each other,
  • cutlery and salt and pepper shakers being brought to customers when food is served rather than laying tables in advance (with individually wrapped condiments and sauces being provided on request),
  • prevention of hotel buffets “as far as possible”,
  • tips becoming digital to minimise the handling of bank-notes,
  • hotel guests using facilities such as gyms, spas and pools being encouraged to change in their hotel room to avoid overcrowding of changing rooms,
  • removal from gyms of treadmills and other equipment to ensure a safe distance between visitors, and
  • conduct of staff patrols of beer gardens and other outside areas to prevent the gathering of large groups of customers
  • cancellation by amusement parks and other family entertainment sites of character shows, concerts and end of day parades

The #FAIR4Hospitality campaign

The #FAIR4Hospitality campaign is described on the UKHospitality website as follows:

Our favourite places were hit first and hit hardest – Britain needs them to survive

Hospitality is diverse. It has helped us through the crisis and can help us out of it. It is not just vital to the 3.2m they employ, they are at the heart of our social lives. But they have been devastated by COVID19 – with a 21% decline in trade in quarter 1 – ten times worse than the whole economy. Around a third of businesses believe they will never reopen some sites. For Great Britain to come together again after the lockdown, governments must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality.

Lockdown, while entirely justified, has kept our customers and staff at home, isolated from friends and family, often unable to earn a living. More than 2 million hospitality jobs are furloughed, and the supply chain is threatened with further damage – these jobs are at risk. Even while closed, the sector faces further costs – bills of up to £1 billion in rent and other costs await them in the second quarter. We have come to know – more than ever – how British hospitality shapes the nation, as well as feeding it: it is key to our sense of community and wellbeing.

It is vital that reopening is done in the right way, at the right time and with the right support so that our industry can help rebuild shattered consumer confidence, bring the entire nation back together safely over the coming months and provide an economic boost to hard-hit coastal and rural communities, providing a morale boost for those families whose holidays have been cancelled. We cannot let our summer slip away before we’ve enjoyed its pleasures and economic boons.

UKHospitality is asking for hospitality businesses to be reopened:

AT THE RIGHT TIME

  • Hospitality will be ready to return to work on the return dates set by Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood based on agreed risk-assessed protocolsensuring protection for staff and customers
  • Hospitality needs initial support to return sub-economically, to save jobs, communities and businesses, tapered as we return to growth
  • Hospitality is diverse and needs flexibility to operate safely, not a one-size-fits-all approach; some are already open, most will be ready by 4th July and others will need more time.

WITH THE RIGHT SUPPORT

With support from governments in four primary areas hospitality can play a leading role in Britain’s recovery

  1. Wellbeing: Endorse our best-practice protocols and risk assessments for a COVID Secure restart
  2. Employees: Ensure furlough is retained at full rate until hospitality businesses successfully restart
  3. Communities: Regulate to provide equitable solutions on rent
  4. Consumers: Cut VAT to boost confidence and incentivise visits to the tourist venues we love

To deliver fairness for all we need all stakeholders – including insurers, landlords and banks – to play a part.

FOR THE GOOD OF THE NATION

  • Summer revenues are crucial: without them a quiet winter will spell the end for many businesses. Rural and seaside communities will suffer disproportionately
  • The Great British public deserve safe eating and drinking out, safe holidays and leisure: the financial cost is a justified investment in the future of the economy
  • Hospitality provides jobs in every city, town and village – its recovery will play a crucial role in levelling up the economy
  • We are more than jobs and livelihoods, we are where communities come together – our doors opening will be a true measure of national recovery.

UPDATE: UKHospitality’s draft COVID-19 Secure Guidelines and Risk Assessment for hospitality businesses (that you can download below) are based on three key principles:

  1. A phased approach to re-opening determined by social distancing guidelines as part of stage 3 of the Government’s reopening roadmap
  2. Continued and enhanced support for closed businesses (furlough, rents, financing)
  3. Industry-developed operational risk assessments to ensure businesses are COVID-19 Secure (such as this document)