Hospitality industry fury over tough Tiers post-lockdown

23 November 2020, 18:45 | Updated: 23 November 2020, 18:49

Hospitality businesses have said they will "not survive"
Hospitality businesses have said they will "not survive". Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Hospitality leaders have said their industry is being "thrown to the wolves" after it was announced England will be hit with tougher tier restrictions post-lockdown.

In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday, Boris Johnson announced a return to the tier system in England post-lockdown, with tougher restrictions in place for many areas.

Although the 10pm curfew is expected to be changed to allow last orders at 10pm ahead of an 11pm closure order, pubs and restaurants will bear the brunt of restrictions ahead of Christmas.

There are reports suggesting that pubs will have to serve a "substantial meal" with any drinks and people must stay within their household groups.

However, pub closures are expected to be relaxed over the five-day Christmas holiday period.

Hospitality businesses in Tier 3 will only be allowed to offer takeaways, when before only pubs and bars in this tier were required to close.

In Tier 2, pubs will only be able to serve alcohol with substantial meals.

More than 70 Tory MPs have said they will oppose the new rules

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls slammed the new Covid rules.

She told the Telegraph: "This a cruel decision and it just feels as if the whole sector is being thrown to the wolves.“We make 25 per cent of our profits in the run-up to Christmas and the Government is taking that away.

“This will have a catastrophic effect on a large number of businesses and all those jobs that were furloughed will now be lost.

"You are talking about the prospect of a million job losses and 30 to 40,000 premises closing their doors for good.”

Read more: Covid: New tier 1, 2 and 3 rules after England lockdown

Read more: Covid lockdown postcode checker: Check your area's coronavirus alert level and tier restrictions

Alex Reilley, chairman of restaurant group Loungers, tweeted: “So Tier 3 is lockdown and Tier 2 is basically old Tier 3 – but all of this is ONLY for hospitality. This is going to kill a lot of hospitality businesses off and it’s clear the government are now prepared to cut the hospitality sector adrift.”

David McDowell, group COO at BrewDog said many operators would not survive tougher measures.

He tweeted: “Yet again, a sector which employs over 3m people in this country (and over a million in its supply chain), finds out about it’s fate on Twitter. Our industry will be in blind panic tonight.

"Thousands of businesses, of all shapes and sizes, won’t survive these restrictions.”

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has furthered the concerns, saying many hospitality businesses will not survive a toughened system of tiered controls in England.

“I am worried about what I am hearing this morning," he said.

"It seems that a toughened Tier 3 could be devastating for the hospitality industry and will hit cities and the city economy very, very hard indeed.

“They seem to be going too far before Christmas to allow too much over Christmas and that will lead to a huge loss of hospitality businesses, which I would say is too big a price to pay.

“To close all hospitality businesses in Tier 3 areas – that will be large parts of the North – that will be devastating for many of those businesses. They will not survive that.”

And on Sunday, speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC, Mr Burnham said the new tier system is "not clear".

Asked what his understanding of the system is, Mr Burnham said: “We will find out next week it would seem.

"It is not being done by discussion or negotiation this time, which is not good in my view.

"I think this has to be done more in consultation. We are expecting to be in one of the higher tiers, I think it is fair to say, Tom. I’m a little worried today by some of this talk of stronger or tougher tiers.

He continued: "We have been under restrictions here since the summer now and you can’t ask people to live under perpetual restrictions or lockdowns. I am a little worried about what I’m hearing to be honest and I hope the government will take a proportionate and balanced approach.

“I wasn’t saying no restrictions and I’m not arguing for that today.

“There is a need for restrictions but they need to be proportionate.

“We have had quite a significant change although it is from a very high level so our cases are still high, but the trend is down.

“There will need to be some restrictions but get rid of the curfew, open the gyms, allow outdoor sport, because otherwise people’s mental health will really suffer throughout December, January and February.”