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New Tier Rules in England – Hospitality Sector Reactions

New Tier Rules in England – Hospitality Sector Reactions
02 December 2020
 

As England’s new tier rules take effect, what does this mean for the already struggling hospitality sector?

The Confederation of British Industry Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell has commented that for many businesses in England, going into toughened tiers while waiting for a vaccine will feel like “suspended animation.”

 

“The Cost to Jobs is Only Justifiable if it has a Material Impact on Health”

 

Fell continued: “Some parts of the economy, such as retail, can begin to re-open and look towards a recovery. It gives our high streets a chance to rescue some of the vital festive trading period.

“But for other businesses the ongoing restrictions in tiers 2 and 3 will leave their survival hanging by a thread. Hospitality will remain frozen. And supply chains that cross regions in different tiers will be hit even if they don’t face direct restrictions.

“Lessons must be learned from previous local lockdowns. Boundary lines between different tiers need to work on the ground. Trigger points for exiting the higher tiers must be transparent.

“Those decisions will need to be clearly communicated each fortnight and taken collaboratively between local, regional and national leaders. Most importantly, evidence must be open and transparent – the cost to jobs is only justifiable if it has a material impact on health."

 

£7.8 Billion Worth of Trading due to be Wiped Out

 

Under the new tier system, 98 per cent of the UK’s hospitality trade will now take place in tier 2 and 3 regions, according to UKHospitality. Should the restrictions last the entire month of December, an estimated £7.8 billion worth of trading is set to be wiped out, compared to 2019.

The industry is also sure to be affected by the loss of the usual Christmas party market, as companies look to virtual solutions in lieu of traditional festive drinks parties. 

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “These are safe spaces for people to meet, relax and socialise and the sector is desperate to get staff back to work, open their doors and, in the long term, diminish reliance on the public purse and begin driving economic recovery.

“The new tiers will see over 120,000 venues across England placed into Tier 2, with tens of thousands of these forced to close as they are unable to provide a table meal, either physically or financially. This affects the employment of nearly 1.5 million people. Under this severe a restriction, 94 per cent of our members say they will be unviable or trading at a loss.

“For the 38,000 businesses in Tier 3, employing over 540,000 there is no option but to provide takeaway or close altogether."

 

“We still have not seen any evidence that hospitality venues – which have invested great time effort and money to making their spaces COVID-secure – are a problem area in terms of infection, so it seems unfair and arbitrary that hospitality is being dealt such a harsh hand." 

–Kate Nicholls

Chief Executive, UKHospitality

 

Are Hospitality Venues Problem Areas for Infection?

 

Nicholls continued: “We still have not seen any evidence that hospitality venues – which have invested great time effort and money to making their spaces COVID-secure – are a problem area in terms of infection, so it seems unfair and arbitrary that hospitality is being dealt such a harsh hand. 

“According to a recent UKH survey, 72 per cent of visitors to hospitality were satisfied with the safety of our venues, compared to just 11 per cent who were not.”

 

What are the Restaurant Rules for Tier 2?

 

With the majority of the country under tier 2 restrictions, what exactly are the rules within restaurants and pubs?

 

  • Pubs and bars may not provide alcohol for consumption on the premises, unless with a substantial meal, so they are operating as a restaurant. They may remain open for takeaway services.
  • Cafes, restaurants and social clubs can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. If they are a business which serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, they must be table service only. 
  • Hospitality venues that do not serve alcohol may allow someone to order from the counter, but they must still consume their meal from a seat if eating in.
  • Hospitality venues must stop taking orders after 10 pm and must close between 11 pm and 5 am (with exceptions for airports, ports, the Folkestone international rail terminal, on public transport services and in motorway service areas, although these places cannot sell alcohol after 11 pm)
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10 pm, such as by take-away. After 11 pm, this must only be through delivery service or click-and-collect or drive-through.

Picture: a photograph of the back section of the bar, showing various bottles of spirits

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 December 2020

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