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COVID-19 Licensing Issues: Industry bodies respond to PM announcments on lockdown modifications and relaxation plan Published Date: 11/05/2020

UK hospitality

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, has commented on the Prime Minister’s address to the nation regarding a phased route out of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The Prime Minister set out the basic requirements, approach and potential timescale for the return to work of many Britons, while clearly recognising that many types of businesses will take longer to return to trade.

Nicholls said

“The Prime Minister gave us a sense of the shape of his plan and the journey ahead. Much detail will follow but the focus on saving lives, and saving livelihoods, is an important and positive basis for progress.

“Mr Johnson was explicit about his commitment to support those workers whose businesses are not able to return soon, and we remain committed to continuing our dialogue with the Government to achieve that. We have been calling for a more flexible, extended furlough system and today’s statement appears to leave the door open for that.

“UKHospitality has already been working up protocols for implementation in different parts of the sector, to allow venues to confidently open their doors when it is safe to do so. This is very much consistent with the approach of ‘Covid secure’ standards that the Prime Minister referenced. He recognised in his statement that some parts of business will be able to open and others won’t – we will work to ensure that the Government is well-placed to support those in hospitality that need longer, as well as on enabling those who are able to return.”


Night Time Industries Association:

Following the Prime Minister's announcement tonight of the Government’s planned measures for social and economic re-engagement, we have been left again with uncertainty and concern over the details and the exact timeline of when we will be able to open our businesses.

The NTIA represents the enormous success story that is the UK’s fifth biggest industry, which accounts for at least 8% of the UK’s employment and revenues of 66 Billion per annum (that’s 6% of the UK total). Members include; Independent bars, nightclubs, restaurant owners, pubs, festival and live music event operators as well as music managers and other supporters of the benefits of the Night-Time Industry from the world of business, culture, media and politics. This is an important sector to the economy that supports a huge amount of people and must be supported and protected.

Michael Kill – CEO NTIA

“We recognise the challenges around balancing the measures to safeguard public health against securing the protection of the economy, but the NTE & Events Sector will collapse under any proposed restrictions on business capacity, enforced physical distancing, increased resource costs, additional high level PPE, bringing into question not only the viability of businesses but whether this is something that can be managed within these spaces.

The Government must engage with the Sector, at the right levels to understand and effect sector-specific recommendations, with a clear timeline and comprehensive re-engagement strategy, supported by an extended financial support provision, through sector specific furlough & grants.

Without this we will see 50% of these businesses fail and over 2 million jobs lost”

Mike Grieve – SubClub Glasgow

“Fundamentally I don’t see how social distancing can work in a nightclub setting, regardless of the size of the space. The very essence of club culture is about sharing emotion and excitement as a crowd in close physical contact with each other. That’s not to mention the practical difficulties of managing bar service, toilets, security searches etc. or the fact that most clubs need 90% + capacity to break even financially. Until we can reopen to 100% capacity I think clubs like ours will remain closed.”

Ben Newby – Operations Director TEG MJR

“The impact of social distancing on the night time, hospitality and entertainment industry is going to cause irreparable harm as the very essence of the industry is social interaction. At the moment, there are only two options being looked at. Either venues cannot open or they can open at reduced capacity. Neither of these options are sustainable or possible as both will result in job losses, closures and the end of the fifth biggest industry in the country in financial terms. The industry needs to be given a unique consideration as it will be the most impacted by its very nature. Instead of a gradual, staggered capacity return the industry needs to be supported by the government to allow them to remain closed without going out of business.

Extending the furlough period for the hospitality industry, vat freeze of reduction, license fee suspension, for example, will allow all venues to have the time to plan and manage without having to come up with solutions of how to sustain a business that cannot trade at reduced capacity with no support. We then need to look at measures that will minimize and control the risk and reporting of infection so customer confidence can be strengthened. This will only work if the government announces with confidence that mass gatherings and social experiences can take place and will work with our industry to put realistic measures in place. Through responsible operations, communication and procedures from both the industry and government we can ensure that our world class entertainment, hospitality, venues, promoters and artists survive this time to continue the history of excellence that has been created so far.”


British Beer & Pub Association

British Beer & Pub Association reports that it's hope for clarity on reopening and extra support for pubs was 'dashed' by PM’s announcement

Trade Association’s research shows that 40% of UK pubs (almost 19,000) will not survive beyond September without further financial support

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“The industry was looking for a glimmer of hope today, a date to plan to and further financial support reassured, but it looks like we have more weeks of uncertainty ahead of us.

“With insufficient clarity as to when pubs will reopen, our sector remains in limbo and facing severe uncertainty and financial devastation. If Government plans to keep pubs closed until the final phase of release, as rumoured, this would make pubs first in and last out of lockdown.

“Despite this, the Government hasn’t outlined any specific additional financial support for pubs to assure and help them through the extended lockdown hardship they face. We understand that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but extending the lockdown without offering additional support will be devastating.

“Our own research shows that 40% of Britain’s pubs won’t survive beyond September with the current level of financial support on offer from the Government. That’s almost 19,000 pubs that won’t reopen. The Government must understand that the current financial support they are providing, although welcome, does not go anywhere near enough to cover pub’s costs through an extended lockdown. This is before we even consider an eventual reopening inevitably with vastly reduced revenue due to stringent social distancing restrictions in place.

“Without this specific additional financial support, the social hubs and heart of communities in many towns, villages and cities across the UK will be lost forever – resulting in immeasurable damage to the wellbeing of our nation. Our clear and urgent ask to the Government is that they recognise the real jeopardy facing the great British pub and put in place targeted measures now to save it, or risk losing local pubs forever.”


More information and articles:

Morning Advertiser: 1 July is the earliest some hospitality businesses could reopen
10-May-2020 By Nicholas Robinson

Some parts of the hospitality sector could reopen as early as 1 July, in the third phase of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to lift the UK out of the coronavirus lockdown.


Morning Advertiser: PM’s announcement ‘leaves sector in limbo’
11-May-2020 By Nikkie Thatcher

Boris Johnson’s announcement about a phased reopening of businesses yesterday (Sunday 10 May) means the pub sector remains in limbo, one trade association has said.