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Venue closures and reduced service looming for hospitality

Published:  26 July, 2021

The hospitality sector is facing a summer of venue closures and reduced service following the government’s decision to leave the industry off the self-isolation exemption list, UK Hospitality (UKH) has warned.

Downing Street has released a list of 16 sectors where fully vaccinated workers may be exempt from isolation if they are told to quarantine after coming into close contact with a positive Covid case – but hospitality is not among them. 

“It is disappointing the government has drawn the list of roles so tightly and left hospitality and the rest of the economy to face the consequences,” said CEO Kate Nicholls.  

“We now face a summer of venue closures and reduced service when we should be at a seasonal peak. The sector will do all it can to provide great service but it will be with one hand tied behind our back,” she said.  

“We all want to stop the spread of the virus but we need a more pragmatic solution from government. Those who are fully vaccinated should be able to test after a ‘ping’ and, subject to a negative result, carry on with their lives. For those not fully vaccinated two negative tests should be sufficient to return to work.”

Gareth Ogden, partner at sector specialist accountancy firm Haysmacintyre, added: “While larger groups have clearly experienced a very challenging past 15 months, it is the smaller groups and single-site business that are likely to be most at risk having drawn down all available resources to stay afloat to date. They lack the financial strength and diversity to survive further setbacks.”

Last week key industry bodies, including UKH, warned that the scale of the challenges facing hospitality businesses as they look to rebuild from the effects of the pandemic means government support continues to be essential.