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Yesterday, the government stepped up its plans for dealing with coronavirus. In his first daily briefing, the Prime Minister said it was now time to avoid non-essential contact and travel and that the British (Londoners, in particular, are weeks ahead of the rest of the country in the pandemic curve) "should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues".

This was a far cry from the clarification the hospitality industry needed and here's why:

  1. Boris neglected to actually mention restaurants by name. Sure they could be lumped in under 'social venues' but often you're much further away from other people in a restaurant than you would be down the pub, watching a band or catching a show.
  2. While other cities like Berlin, New York and Paris have seen their restaurants officially closed down, London is still in the vague state of just having people warned off using them.
  3. Recommending people avoid pubs and restaurants rather than officially closing them means that businesses which close voluntarily will have no recourse to claiming on their business insurance.

The criticial question is how will restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars survive being without trade for the coming months.

The hospitality industry is massive - it's the UK’s 3rd largest private employer making £130bn a year (which makes it bigger than the car, aeronautic and pharmacy industries combined). Critically it provides tax receipts of £39bn all of which will be at risk if the government doesn't step in with immediate plans to protect the people and businesses within it.

Twitter did not respond well, as you might imagine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final word on the subject? When you find yourself agreeing with Piers Morgan, you know things are bad.

 

 

Further updates on financing are expected today - we'll update on the impacts on the hospitality industry as soon as we know.

 

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