Early closing branded a ‘crushing blow’ to UK hospitality
All pubs, bars and restaurants in England must close by 22:00 from Thursday the government had ordered, to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
The hospitality sector will also be restricted by law to table service only.
The measures will be set out by the prime minister in the House of Commons today before he addresses the nation in a live broadcast at 20:00 tonight.
Boris Johnson is also expected to stress the need for people to follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly.
Commenting on the planned introduction of an earlier closing time compulsory table service for on-site sales across England, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, commented: “These restrictions will come as another crushing blow for many hospitality businesses struggling to recover so it is crucial these new rules are applied with flexibility.
“A hard-close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus - we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period.
“Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening, but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.”
She added: “It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when government data shows that just five per cent of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.
“Where such restrictions have been put in place locally, they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs.
“Most critically, government needs to recognise this will damage confidence even further and it is now inevitable that the sector will struggle long into 2021.”
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