A new strategy designed to ensure pubs, bars and restaurants in England can begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic has been released by the government.
Under the plans, it will be easier for venues on the high street to offer al fresco dining and serve more customers outside, with pavement licenses being extended and made permanent.
Takeaway pints will also continue for another 12 months, as the temporary permissions for off-property-sales of alcohol are extended in England and Wales.
Recovery measures will also boost business and consumer confidence and help the sector return to profitability, business minister, Paul Scully, said.
This includes working with the government-owned British Business Bank and directly with lenders to support access to finance for hospitality firms so they can invest in their businesses.
The government is setting out ways to help the sector improve its resilience, including by making hospitality a career option of choice, boosting creativity, and developing a greener sector.
Scully said: “The pandemic has meant we’ve had to stay apart, and this has had a big impact on the hospitality industry, which exists to bring people together.
“We’ve been working with hospitality businesses throughout the pandemic to understand what support they need to not only reopen, but change and improve how they do things to meet changing consumer demands and protect jobs and livelihoods.
“We want young people to see the hospitality sector as a go-to option for long-term careers, and that’s why we will explore new options for vocational training and help further boost the creativity and environmental friendliness of the sector through the first-ever government strategy for the hospitality industry.”
Measures also include exploring options for vocational skills and training that support careers in the sector, including apprenticeships, bootcamps and other qualifications like a T-Level, and working with the sector to raise the profile of careers in hospitality.
This comes as the £150 million Community Ownership Fund, giving people across the UK the chance to run local pubs at risk of closure as community-owned businesses.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The pandemic has devastated the hospitality sector and businesses are desperate to bounce back strongly and return to profitable trading.
“That’s why the launch of this new Hospitality Strategy is so important – it offers a strong platform to deliver the supportive regulatory and trading environment we need to recover, rebuild resilience and thrive.
“Building and training our workforce is a top priority if hospitality is to quickly revive and drive a national recovery, so it’s incredibly positive that a key part of this strategy is focused on addressing the current recruitment challenges and raising the profile of long-term sector careers.”
A government plan for the wider tourism sector received a more muted response earlier.