Hospitality workers have gathered at Westminster this morning to protest against the devasting impact the governments restrictions have had on the industry in recent months and call for further support for businesses and employees.
The socially distanced and protest at Parliament Square begain this monting at 10am and has seen hospitality workers protest against the 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants, pubs, and bars and the lack of job support attached to new local restrictions.
Organiser Rachel Harty says the protest is against the lack of scientific evidence behind recently intrioduced hospitality-specific restrictions:
The blows that have been dealt to the UK hospitality industry over the last six months have caused a great deal of frustration and hardship. Hospitality outlets have responded by investing heavily in safety measures to enable staff to return to work, and to get customers through the door. However, the recent introduction of the curfew and increasing local lockdowns have created an existential threat to large proportion of hospitality businesses.
The demonstration comes as London prepares to enter tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from Saturday, which prevent households from mixing inside hospitality premises. Businesses in tier 2 are not able to claim enhanced government support, because they are not forced to close, and the fear is that this will lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs made no longer viable by the new restrictions.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, said: “It’s no surprise to us that our colleagues from the beleaguered hospitality industry wish to express themselves in this way and we stand shoulder to shoulder in support.
“Businesses are feeling the cumulative impact of all the restrictions placed on them, and have really suffered since the introduction of the curfew, which has had a severe and devastating impact. Now with the introduction of the tiers system, we are reaching the point of no return for many. Many are trading unsustainably and at a fraction of their pre-Covid levels.
“Without enhanced financial support that really recognises this situation, and without additional government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many businesses and jobs are going to fall by the wayside. It is time for the government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew on those areas where Covid rates are low and to come forward with credible and far-reaching financial support for hospitality. The curfew was imposed without credible evidence and restrictions that limit a company’s ability to endure this crisis must come with support.”