Two metre distancing in pubs will cripple industry, putting one million jobs on the line

7 June 2020, 12:51

By Seán Hickey

Business leaders have called for social distance to be reduced to one metre so the hospitality industry can survive coronavirus.

Kate Nicholls is the Chief Executive of UK Hospitality and she was speaking to Nigel Farage amid news that Boris Johnson is trying to speed up lockdown easing to save the hospitality industry, which employs around 3.5 million people in Britain.

Nigel wanted to know what constituted the worry for businesses which were unsure if they can reopen as remaining closed is damaging them to no end.

Ms Nicholls noted that for business leaders it is "impossible to plan" for the future because "we don't know under what conditions they can reopen." She told Nigel that the potential for businesses to fold even when lockdown is lifted is high because of current social distancing rules.

"Two metre social distancing means it will just not be viable" for many businesses, she told Nigel. "We estimate about a third of our venues will not reopen after this crisis and that means a million jobs are immediately on the line."

Ms Nicholls urged the government to introduce one metre distancing in hospitality which could soften the economic blow for many.

3 million hospitality jobs could be at risk if lockdown isn't eased sooner
3 million hospitality jobs could be at risk if lockdown isn't eased sooner. Picture: PA

Nigel argued that "reopening those venues will risk public safety" if they're opened too early. Ms Nicholls urged Nigel not to doubt the research the industry is doing to make businesses viable under coronavirus regulations, insisting that "we know we can do this safely."

Ms Nichols began the conversation by telling Nigel that the hospitality industry is "something that touches our lives on a regular basis" and its preservation should be paramount to the UK's fight against coronavirus.

"It's nationally important, but also locally, culturally and economically" she said, and could imagine a disaster situation if one million people lost their jobs because of poor coronavirus planning.

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