Hospitality industry bodies are warning that any further Covid restrictions will be a “catastrophe” for UK nightlife.
Several organizations say the entire industry is already “on the brink” of collapse because of new restrictions such as the 10 p.m. curfew in England and other measures that would close bars and restaurants in much of the central Scottish regions.
The UK Hospitality and the Scottish Beer and Pub Association have said thousands of jobs could be lost and many businesses forced to shut down if more restrictions or a full lockdown come into effect.
“This is a total catastrophe. Scottish hospitality is already on the brink and is unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence,” Willie Macleod of UKHospitality said.
“Forced closures will spell the end for many venues which have no cash flow and will have exhausted their reserves. Severe restrictions to those businesses not forced to close will amount to a closure for many. It is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost,” Macleod added.
Scottish Premier Nicola Sturgeon announced $52 million in support of affected businesses, but this “will not even come close to covering the required furlough contributions for the period, never mind ongoing fixed costs and stock,” Emma McClarkin of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association said.
Across the rest of the UK, industry bodies have expressed concern around the 10 p.m. curfew that is currently in effect in England and Wales, demanding the government publish scientific evidence to support its decision.
In a letter addressed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week, Campaign for Real Ale chairman Nik Antona said “Publicans who have already spent thousands making their premises Covid-secure now face dwindling levels of trade as a result of these government decisions, which will undoubtedly lead to permanent closure.”