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As many as seven in 10 pubs and restaurants across the UK worry that they might be forced to close next year if they continue to face Covid-19 restrictions.
Trade bodies representing businesses in the hospitality industries have said that around 72 per cent of their members have been operating at a loss and face a distinctly uncertain future as the virus crisis goes on.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and UK Hospitality have warned that thousands of businesses around the country are fearful of having to close permanently in the near future and shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.
In England, the tiered system of Covid restrictions, which was in place prior to the full lockdown introduced in November, is understood to have had a particularly damaging impact on pub and restaurant businesses.
More financial support came in for businesses alongside the full-scale lockdown but many hospitality operators are nonetheless concerned that they will soon be unable to stay afloat.
The three lobby groups have warned that unless targeted funding and a loosening of restrictions can be brought into effect soon then there could be 750,000 jobs lost in the hospitality sector by February 2021.
A statement given on behalf of the BBPA, the BII and UK Hospitality said: “The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the government’s restrictions are having.
“We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but to ensure our sector can bring people together properly this Christmas and beyond, the tier system should be fine-tuned.”
A recent parliamentary hearing at Westminster saw representatives of the hospitality and retails sectors calling on the government to provide greater clarity to businesses in England about what Covid restrictions are likely to be in place over Christmas.
The current lockdown is due to end in early December but it is not yet certain that the public heath issues presented by the pandemic will allow for restrictions to be lifted.
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