Clear and early guidance needed for the leisure and hospitality sector

Wednesday 20th of May 2020 10:32 AM

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have urged the Government to provide clear and early guidance to the leisure and hospitality sector so they can prepare to restart operations in the summer.

The call comes from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on the back of the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker which was conducted between May 13 and May 15.

The latest survey showed that the majority of respondents (83 per cent) reported high levels of awareness of the government’s new workplace guidance as sectors of the economy begin to reopen gradually. 

Just over a third (37 per cent) of respondents said that they could fully restart operations by implementing the government guidance, while 45 per cent said they could do so partially. However, due to social distancing guidelines, it is likely that many firms will see a reduction in demand and will not be able to restart at full capacity.  

Ten per cent of respondents did not agree that they would be ready to implement guidance and restart operations, mainly citing social distancing as difficult. 

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The phased restarting of the economy is going to take time as health remains the number one priority and businesses are having to adapt to the new guidance.

“The latest tracker shows that the majority firms returning to the workplace in the past week are aware of the guidance that has been issued by Government for them to operate safely.

“The leisure and hospitality sector, it is hoped, will be able to begin to open up from July and we’d urge Government to offer them clear, early guidance on the measures they will need to take in order for them to be able to get ready for that.

“This sector is also going to require continued support because it is going to take time before it can get close to the kind of business being done before Covid-19 struck.”

BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said: “While businesses have welcomed the publication of official guidance on how they can reopen premises and restart operations, some sectors still require greater clarity from the government on when and how they will be allowed to do so. This is particularly the case for hospitality and leisure companies, which will not reopen before July at the earliest.  

“Companies at all levels of readiness to restart, of all sizes, and in every part of the UK will need sustained government support as they navigate the ‘new normal’ with reduced demand and restrictions still in place. Many support schemes will need to be adapted and updated, but must not be withdrawn prematurely.” 

Caption: Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce