Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, has reacted angrily to the government’s latest coronavirus announcement. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has advised that people should avoid restaurants, pubs, hotels, theatres and other hospitality and leisure businesses.
“This is catastrophic for businesses and jobs,” said Nicholls. “The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.
“Over the past few weeks, the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.
“The government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs, and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.
“We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “I [have[ met the PM and pressed for support for those affected by coronavirus, including rent deferrals, mortgage holidays, higher statutory sick pay and income protection for insecure, low-paid and self-employed workers. It’s essential for both public health and social justice.”
Johnson will address the nation again today. There is speculation that he will announce more financial plans to aid the economy during the outbreak.