16.23 - 'Bring your jab forward'
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has urged people to bring forward their second Covid jab if possible.
Same thing applies to all over 50s - there are still 1.3m not had their 2nd jab and this has been a key factor in the delay and will be taken into account when they review again in July. Make sure there aren’t more excuses - bring your jab forward https://t.co/UYN46Ss0g6— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) June 15, 2021
15.42 - Scottish lockdown easing to be pushed back 3 weeks
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signalled the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland may be pushed back by three weeks.
It had been hoped the whole country would move to the lowest level of its framework from 28 June, level zero.
Sturgeon said a delay would allow more people to be vaccinated ahead of an official decision next week.
She said it was "reasonable to indicate now that I think it unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level" as had been hoped.
14.01 - BII calls for full business rate cancellation until next spring
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has called for urgent support measures including a full business rate cancellation until April 2022 for England, in line with the other devolved nations.
It also called for a further extension of the VAT cut at 5% until next year and a targeted duty cut on draught beer served in pubs as well as a postponement of any form of Government debt including Covid loans.
BII CEO, Steve Alton, said: “Pubs at the heart of their communities are built on the resilience provided by the summer months, boosted by sporting events, large scale family celebrations and being an essential part of the UK tourism offer. Put simply, every day of critical summer trading lost, is a step closer to business failure."
12.04 - Almost two thirds of Brits not scaling back pub plans due to Delta variant
Some 60% of respondents have not scaled back plans to socialise in pubs and bars due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, according to new research.
A survey of close to 1,000 Brits by global intelligence platform Streetbees found that those aged between 40-44 and 25-34 were the least likely to change plans to go out due to the rising number of Covid cases – with 69% and 66% respectively claiming their socialising in pubs and bars would be unaffected.
What’s more, those in the 35-39 (59%), 18-24 (56%) and 65+ (55%) age brackets were similarly committed to fulfilling pub plans, while only the 45-54 (48%) and 55-64 (44%) groups saw fewer than half of respondents claim their social calls would continue as usual.
Reporting by Stuart Stone
10.05 - Businesses forced to 'endure another delay' with no extra support
Founder chairman of Loungers Alex Reilley has said while many individuals will be happy to see the Government's work from home message continued, businesses are in a tough position "with no extra support."
I wonder how many rejoiced yesterday at the extension to ‘work at home where possible’ - 4 extra weeks of sun, cheeky little Euros match after lunch. Meanwhile thousands of hospitality businesses not only have to endure another delay but they have to do so with no extra support.— Alex Reilley (@AlexReilley1) June 15, 2021
Tuesday 15 June, 09.23 - 300k jobs on the line unless support ‘sustained and adjusted’
There have been calls for the Government to extend financial support for businesses closed or operating with heavy restrictions this summer.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four week delay to lifting all legal limits on social contact last night, moving ‘freedom day’ from 21 June to 19 July.
Trade body UKHospitality said this delay amounted to a loss or £3 billion in sales and would endanger 300,000 jobs.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls called for further support to be announced and said: “Our businesses face incredible levels of debt and will now face a huge cost hike, with business rates payments set to recommence and rent accruals due at the end of the month. An swift indication that the business rates holiday will be extended would go a long way to bringing succour to a battered sector - paying any amount of tax while still unable to trade viably would save businesses and, in turn, tax receipts in longer term.
“Simply put, if the supports provided by the Chancellor are not sustained and adjusted, businesses will fail and getting this far will count for nought."
- How will the delay impact your business? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
16.44 - Scotland trade urges swift easing of lockdown rules
UKHospitality Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to push ahead with moving to level zero of its unlocking framework by 28 June.
Executive director of UKHospitality Scotland Leon Thompson said: “It is vital that the Scottish Government understands how important it is to achieve Level 0 by the date of 28 June. Progress to remove restrictions will help hospitality businesses continue to move to improved trading and back towards viability.
“Hospitality businesses may look busy, but most continue to trade at a loss adding to the debt burden built up over 15 months of closure and restricted opening. This week the First Minister must provide a clear and certain message that Scotland is still on track to reach level zero by 28 June. This will provide confidence to a sector that has borne the economic brunt of the pandemic.”
14.15 - Unlocking delay 'huge own goal', says SIBA
Delaying the easing of lockdown rules would be a “huge own goal” for the country’s recovery, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said.
SIBA national chairman Roy Allkin said a full reopening of the sector could be managed in a safe way from 21 June.
Allkin said: "Delaying the full reopening of the hospitality industry and the removal of social distancing measures for another four weeks is a huge own goal at a time when the country is finally on the front foot.
“It is important to be guided by ‘data and not dates’ - and the data shows the roadmap to reopening can safely continue as planned and the hospitality industry has consistently shown it can operate safely for the protection of both customers and staff.”
“For the nation’s small independent breweries, who rely on pubs for 80% of their sales, this announcement will mean yet more uncertainty and meagre sales,” he added.
12.02 - Health secretary to make statement tonight
Matt Hancock will give a ministerial statement on the Covid situation in the House of Commons at around 8.30pm.
He will update MPs on the latest data on coronavirus cases and rates across the country.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a four-week delay to the final lockdown lifting step at 6pm this evening.
11.09 - What will a delay to 21 June mean to your business?
Will your night-time venue be hit hard by a delay to step 4 of the unlocking roadmap? Get in touch on email@example.com#ukpubs— The Morning Advertiser (@morningad) June 14, 2021
10.05 - Eyes on Chancellor for sector support
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been called on to issue further support for the hospitality sector, in particular for venues who will not be able to reopen this month should a delay be announced.
Nightclubs have now been fully closed for 15 months. Having been gearing up to finally reopen in a week- we are preparing to be told they must remain shut for at least another month. Surely you can’t now expect us to pay more towards rates and furlough from 1st July @RishiSunak?— Charlie Gilkes (@charliegilkes) June 14, 2021
It was reported by The Mail the furlough end date is not to be extended despite the reported delay to unlocking.
Monday 14 June, 09.30 - Operators 'fearful' amid speculations of unlocking delay
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a delay of up to four weeks to the final unlocking step at a press conference tonight (6pm Monday 14 June).
It has been leaked that Johnson is set to announce a delay to this step, citing concerns about the more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus.
A four week delay would equate to £3bn of lost sales across the hospitality sector, according to trade body UKHospitality.
What's more, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has warned of the impact of speculation on operators' mental health.
I've had endless calls and messages from operators in the last 24hrs.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) June 12, 2021
Fearful, anxious, at their wits end.
These "leaks" and "rumours" from the Government, are just despicable.
The toll on peoples mental health is at tipping point.
14.34 - Pubs to miss out on £3m worth of sales during England v Croatia
Football fans in England will buy 3m pints this weekend during England’s first game in the UEFA Euro 2020 against Croatia, it has been estimated.
However, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said pubs will be unable to make the most of the trade boost on Sunday 13 June because of ongoing Covid restrictions.
Almost nine in 10 (85%) football fans have said restrictions will harm the experience of watching the Euros at the pub this summer, according to a survey conducted for the BBPA.
12.52 - 'Hospitality delivered half of all GDP growth last August'
Just think how much faster it would grow with hospitality open at full strength without restrictions - last August we delivered half of all GDP growth and if PM sticks to the roadmap and ends restrictions 21 June we can do that again https://t.co/MdTNFOGlTh— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) June 11, 2021
11.03 - Delta variant 60% more transmissible than previous dominant strain
The Delta variant has been found to be about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant indoors, which was known as the Kent variant.
Public Health England has also warned that vaccines are less effective against the new variant, first identified in India.
More than 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant, health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.
Since last week, the number of Delta variant cases across the UK has increased by 70% to 42,323.
Friday 11 June, 09.08 - North west operators hopeful restrictions will be avoided
The pub trade in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire is hopeful it will be able to avoid any additional targeted restrictions following concern over a Covid variant.
Measures including surge testing have been introduced in the areas to stop the spread of the Delta variant.
Other actions also include military support, supervised in-school testing and wastewater testing samples prioritised for sequencing, after similar measures saw cases suppressed in Bolton.
Operator Elaine Wrigley of Atlas Bar in Manchester said she was experiencing strong inside trade despite capacity challenges.
"We’re trying to remain positive re the local situation," she said, "and are right behind Andy Burnham, who’s pushing for no local tiering but a national approach."
She added: "We’d rather the 21 June deadline got pushed back, than we end in local restrictions again, which was a disaster for us!"
Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord urged customers who are put off from visiting venues to cancel in good time and respect hospitality businesses.
Pubs across England are anticipating an announcement next week over the future of rules like social distancing and table service, which could be scrapped from 21 June.
15.39 - Government 'clam like' on 14 June decision
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)'s CEO Emma McClarkin has said the Government has "gone almost clam like" with revealing its stance ahead of a decision on the future of lockdown on Monday 14 June.
Speaking on The Morning Advertiser's Lock In podcast, McClarkin said: "They have gone very, very quiet, I have to say, almost clam like in terms of the dialogue with officials around the announcement on 14 June."
“We are pressing hard for the removal of those restrictions.”— The Morning Advertiser (@morningad) June 10, 2021
Hear @beerandpub’s @EmmaMcClarkin’s thoughts on the potential delay to ‘freedom day’, along with discussions on the lack of news on support extensions and more. Listen here » https://t.co/b26J9EyzG3pic.twitter.com/N92FDFe64n
The trade organisation was "pressing hard" for a removal of all restrictions on 21 June as per the Government's roadmap. "It is so important to the recovery of the sector, the confidence of the sector," McClarkin added.
She said: "So it is very disappointing that we keep hearing through the media, and not through any of our official channels, the very latest about where they're at."
"I think we have to be prepared for whatever is coming down the road. I think the Prime Minister is very determined to go ahead with 21 June but of course, he's surrounded by people saying he should do that exact opposite."
13.31 - New licensing regulations 'positive news' for sector
Amendments to licensing regulations for England and Wales have been welcomed by sector bosses, who say the new measures will help pubs recover from the pandemic.
Under the Alcohol Licensing (Coronavirus) (Regulatory Easements) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, automatic off licence flexibility will be extended to 30 September 2022.
The regulations, to be debated in Parliament, will also increase the annual Temporary Event Notice (TEN) allowance from 15 to 20 for 2022 and 2023.
The maximum number of days on which temporary events may be held will be increased from 21 to 26.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls described the amended regulations as “positive news for businesses that have been hard hit over the course of the pandemic.”
10.42 - 'The clock is ticking ever faster towards the next rent day'
UKHospitality's director of strategic affairs has told MCA that it has heard "fairly positive" updates from the Government on tackling the sector's growing rent debt.
Tony Sophoclides said recommendations being put forward to government on how to tackle the matter were broadly in line with UKH members' calls.
He told MCA: “As always with this issue, the clock is ticking ever faster towards the next rent day […] but the one glint of positivity is that we are at least at the stage now where officials are taking recommendations to them (government),” he said.
“But there is a small window in which to come up with a solution to something that has proven so intractable, so I think we’d have to be looking at another moratorium extension.”
Thursday 10 June, 09.33 - 'Mix and match' unlocking on the cards
It has been reported ministers are considering a partial unlocking on 21 June with some restrictions to remain in place to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
A senior Government official told the Financial Times the new variant meant a “mix-and-match approach is probably on the cards, given the limited number of levers left”.
What's more, a cabinet minister told the newspaper that larger weddings were likely to be allowed to go ahead this month while nightclubs' reopening could be stalled "for a while."
However, the HuffPost has reported Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove as telling colleagues yesterday (9 June) that if he were a “betting man” he would “bet on a relaxation” of lockdown rules on June 21.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said it is gearing up to launch a challenge on the Government if nightclubs are not permitted to reopen on 21 June.
The Prime Minister will announce a decision on Monday 14 June.
16.45 - UK records highest daily cases since February
The UK has recorded another 7,540 coronavirus cases today, according to official figures.
It is the highest number of daily cases reported since 26 February.
15.12 - Surge testing in parts of London
Surge testing for the Delta Covid variant has been announced in Kingston with residents of neighbouring areas urged to get tested too.
Merton Council urged individuals who live or work near a surge testing site or have visited Kingston recently to get tested too.
12.46 - London night czar sees 'no reason' for unlocking delay
London night czar Amy Lamé has said he is "keeping my fingers crossed" for a full reopening for the nighttime economy on 21 June.
I see no reason why we can't fully reopen on June 21.— Amy Lamé (london.gov.uk/coronavirus) (@amylame) June 9, 2021
I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that when the Government sees the latest data, they allow us to reopen on June 21. https://t.co/afHGTbfzvQ
11.06 - More than half of hospitality workers still on furlough
Some 55% of pub and bar staff are currently on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, known as furlough) according to official data.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found the peak of the number of hospitality workers on the scheme was hit in November 2020 when 91% were on it. This has now dropped by almost half to 55% at 2 May 2021.
When compared to the levels of furlough being used overall, this is at 8% to 15% in all other businesses using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the same period.
Since pubs were permitted to trade outside (Monday 12 April), hospitality workers were taken off furlough and placed back into work at the latest data shows this is at just under 60% (54.9% as of 25 April 2021) compared to 8.2% in all other businesses.
Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher
10.22 - Chancellor would rather unlocking delay than 'halfway house'
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is prepared to accept an unlocking delay of up to four weeks, The Guardian has reported.
The newspaper said it understood Sunak was not fixated on the 21 June data and was more concerned that when restrictions were lifted, it would be for the last time.
“The Treasury’s main thing is that freedoms are irreversible and businesses have clarity,” the newspaper’s source said.
Sunak would prefer a clean delay above a “halfway house” with some measures remaining and some scrapped.
Ministers are thought to be discussing a delay of between two and four weeks to allow more people to be protected by vaccines.
Hospitality trade bodies have said any extension of restrictions must come with fresh financial support for businesses.
Tuesday 9 June, 09.59 - 'We should not underestimate importance of 21 June'
The Telegraph newspaper has reported there are particular concerns about reopening nightclubs on 21 June with concerns bustling crowds will increase Covid transmission.
It reported some MPs were also concerned lockdown laws could be replaced by stringent guidance which would see the public limit their own behaviour.
Ministers are waiting for more data to assess the coronavirus situation before making a decision on the final lockdown easing step on 14 June.
The Night Time Industries Association has said it is working with partners to launch collective action against the Government should it decide to push back reopening plans for 21 June.
NTIA boss Michael Kill said: “Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for there opportunity to open for over 15 months, many have not survived, some are on a cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and left to suffer extreme financial hardship”
“We should not underestimate the importance of 21 June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they are given back there freedom to trade, livelihoods, careers, social well being and the day that the Government gives culture back to the UK.”
15.24 - 'Treat our hospitality sector with respect'
Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has welcomed news of further measures to tackle Covid cases in the area.
Todays Greater Manchester guidance:— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) June 8, 2021
I'd like to remind the public, that Hospitality's gone to great lengths to create safe environments
If you do decide to change plans, PLEASE let the venue know asap
Please give our sector the best chance for recovery
More to follow shortly.
He said: "We remain hopeful that with these measures in place, step four of the roadmap on 21 June will go ahead, however we must not allow a disregard for the guidance now to affect those chances.
"We must all continue to work as one to help prevent a surge of infections delaying our exit from this crisis, from those taking the time to discuss vaccine concerns with friends and family, to the thousands of businesses who have worked hard to implement measures to aid the reduction in transmission."
Lord urged the public to let venues know of any cancellations in good time.
"I’d like to remind the public that hospitality operators across Greater Manchester have created safe, secure environments, however I am aware some social plans may change as a result of today’s announcement. Given the stark financial ledge many venues are balancing on, it remains imperative that hotels and restaurants are given notice of any cancellations ahead of time. I continue to urge the public to treat our hospitality sector with respect and offer them the best chance of recovery post-Covid.”
15.12 - 'Strengthened package of support' for north west hit by Delta
Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced a "strengthened package of support" to tackle rising cases of the Delta Covid variant.
Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire are to receive military support and supervised in-school testing in the areas hardest hit.
In these areas, individuals have been advised to reduce travel to other areas and to get tested regularly.
11.04 - 1 in 10 operators will fail if restrictions not removed on 21 June
Some 11% of licensees predicted their businesses will fail if the Government does not continue with its roadmap as planned and remove all restrictions later this month, research has found.
The Trading, Support and Full Reopening June 2021 survey from the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) also stated just a third (34%) of respondents said they will continue to break even and 43% will carry on trading at a loss and build up further debt.
Three quarters (74%) of those surveyed are currently trading at less than 75% when compared to 2019 figures.
The majority (89%) called for a continuation of the business rates holiday until April 2022, a reform of the business rates system, to extend the decrease in VAT until April next year alongside a specific reduction in duty for draught products.
Almost two thirds (60%) called for Government support on rent debt while 66% wanted further landlord support.
Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher
09.59 - 'Fair amount of political confidence' in roadmap
In contrast to earlier reports, trade body UKHospitality has said the sense it gets from Government is that ministers are confident about 21 June going ahead without delay.
UKHospitality’s Tony Sophoclides told MCA's The Conversation that the group's Government contacts were optimistic after a strong uptake of the vaccine.
He said: “In our communications and dialogue with government, behind closed doors, it’s actually remained pretty much the same, which is there’s a fair amount of political confidence, probably even stronger by the end of last week than at the beginning despite all the media coverage.
"It’s very much rooted in the fact there’s a higher take up than expected of vaccines in the younger age brackets, and that’s really bolstered confidence.”
However, he said he felt it was likely table service would remain a requirement after 21 June for a few more weeks.
Tuesday 8 June, 09.21 - Ministers discussing two week lockdown lifting delay
The Times newspaper has reported that the fourth and final lockdown easing step on 21 June could be delayed by two weeks.
It said Cabinet ministers were briefed by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance who painted a “fairly grim” picture of data on the new Delta virus variant.
A two week delay would allow all over-50s to receive two doses of the vaccine and give time for immunity protections to take effect.
One of the newspaper's sources said they anticipated a delay of "between two weeks and a month" with full reopening taking place before the start of the school summer holidays to avoid a major political fallout.
Another source said they favoured a delay above a partial lifting of restrictions on 21 June.
Ministers will look at the data available on Monday 14 June and announce a decision, one week prior to 21 June.
15.59 - 'Jabs are working'
Health secretary Matt Hancock has reiterated it is “too early” to make any concrete decisions about the lockdown easing step on 21 June.
Four weeks were needed between unlocking steps to assess the impact of relaxing rules on case numbers with an additional week’s notice for businesses, he added.
However, he said the public could be “reassured” by data on hospitalisations relating to the new Delta virus variant, which show very low numbers of people who have received two doses of a vaccine.
“The jabs are working,” he told MPs, announcing that 76% of UK adults have been vaccinated at least once and 52% have had two doses.
The Delta variant - also known as the Indian variant - makes up the “vast majority” of new infections, Hancock said.
Hancock encouraged people to get their second doses after research found one dose provides lower protection against the Delta variant compared to previous dominant strains.
“Nobody wants our freedoms to be restricted a day longer than is necessary,” he added.
Freedom would return “one day soon,” the minister said, acknowledging restrictions had “not been easy” for business operators and the nation’s mental health.
A decision on the fourth and final lockdown easing step will be made on 14 June, one week prior to 21 June.
15.37 - Surge testing in new area
Surge testing is to be carried out in Calderdale, West Yorkshire after the discovery of Delta variant coronavirus cases.
Individuals living in the Todmodern, Park and Warley wards are encouraged to get a PCR test even if they are not showing symptoms.
13.50 - 'No reason to delay'
Chief executive of Camerons Brewery Chris Soley has urged ministers to not change the 21 June roadmap after reports social distancing rules for pubs could be continued.
This would be no change for pubs and is political nonsense— Chris Soley (@chrissoley) June 4, 2021
The jab works
We must return to normal for everyone’s physical, mental and economic well-being
No reason to delay removal of all restrictions @BorisJohnson 21st June
Or @RishiSunak you better open that wallet again https://t.co/a5FM1xG42d
12.11 - St Austell reduces opening and serving hours due to staff shortage
Introduction:South west-based operator and brewer St Austell has temporarily decreased its food service hours and opening hours in some of its managed sites, in a bid to tackle the current recruitment crisis.Story:
This followed nine in 10 operators predicting issues with staff this year, an industry report found. The latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth showed 51% of respondents were anticipating shortages across all roles with a further 39% worried about back of house roles.
Furthermore, research from trade body UKHospitality revealed 80% of operators reported vacancies for front-of-house roles and 85% needed chefs.
In a message from St Austell chief executive Kevin Georgel on its website, the pub company addressed its customers.
Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher
10.35 - Staff shortages: what is your experience?
"90% of business leaders expecting staff shortages": Nine in 10 operators are predicting issues with recruitment this year, research from across the hospitality trade has found.#Business#Staffhttps://t.co/HifUFm4P9Z— NTIA (@wearethentia) June 7, 2021
- Have you experienced problems with recruiting or retaining staff this side of England's third lockdown? What do you think would help the sector resolve the issue? Get in touch with your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org
10.09 - Health secretary to update MPs on Covid response
Health secretary Matt Hancock will give an update on the coronavirus situation in the House of Commons later today.
A decision on 21 June easing will be announced on 14 June but the minister's comments today could suggest how the Government is leaning.
Monday 7 June, 09.43 - Data shows ‘evidence of another wave appearing’, says top scientist.
Coronavirus numbers at the moment show “evidence of another wave appearing” meaning plans to ease lockdown rules in England should be halted, a scientist has said.
The fourth and final lockdown lifting step on 21 June should be pushed back for “a few weeks,” Sir David King, the chairman of the Independent SAGE Group has said.
There were 5,300 new cases per day in the UK, up about 2,000 on last week, signifying “we’re going into a serious third wave,” King told Sky News.
He said: "I'm very reluctant to say that we should not go out of lockdown on 21 June, but I think the figures are in now, and it will be wise for the Government to announce right away a delay in opening, just so that we can all plan for the post-21 June period."
King said he didn’t know how long a lockdown lifting delay should be but said ministers should at least delay for a few weeks to “see how the fingers are emerging.”
16.48 - Highest daily figure of Covid cases since March
The highest number of cases since March, 6238, has been reported.
The seven-day average for cases has increased by 40% as ministers prepare to assess the data available on the Delta variant ahead of the next lockdown easing step.
However, there are signs of the vaccination rollout's impact as the seven-day average for deaths is down by 5.2% and hospitalisations are down by 2.2%.
15.04 - Brewery hosts vaccination centre
Brewer McMullen is backing the country's Covid vaccination rollout as the Hertford Vaccination Centre has relocated to the McMullen Brewery Yard.
“The Brewery and family are delighted to be able to help with the vaccination effort”
Brewery joint managing director Tom McMullen said the company was "delighted" to be able to help.
He said: “This is foremost about protecting lives and we encourage all those eligible to come forwards and get vaccinated as we continue to seek victory over Covid.
What's more, the brewery is offering those who come for a jab the opportunity to enter a free lottery for a brewing experience for lucky entrants and five friends.
Dr Giles Pratt said local vaccine teams were grateful for the brewery's support.
“Despite having been closed for much of the past year it is a sign of their resilience and community focus that they are still able to volunteer their premises and time for this cause," he said.
"Vaccination offers a route to normalisation that businesses like theirs, and all those that rely on them, desperately need.”
13.45 - Enable sector to be at 'heart of recovery'
Full reopening without restrictions and an extension of the business rates holiday until April 2022 in line with the devolved nations critical to rebuilding momentum & enabling our sector to be at the heart of the recovery. @scullyp@BIIandBIIABhttps://t.co/t282BQTuxq— Steven Alton (@AltonSteven) June 4, 2021
11.15 - Lockdown easing uncertainty has 'impacted momentum'
A trio of trade bodies representing publicans and brewers have written to the Chancellor and business secretary urging clarity and support.
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and UKHospitality (UKH) said uncertainty over the roadmap had “impacted momentum in confidence, trade and employment".
Doubts have been cast over the fourth and final lockdown easing step, earmarked for Monday 21 June, after a new Delta variant of the virus has spread across the country.
The trade bodies asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for early confirmation that all trading restrictions on venues would be lifted this month.
They also called for a full extension of the business rates holiday until April 2022 with no caps, in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
10.42 - 'So important to remove all restrictions on 21 June'
Admiral Taverns CEO Chris Jowsey has said remaining lockdown restrictions "now cause more damage" than Covid-19.
He tweeted in support of the British Beer and Pub Association's 'countdown to freedom' campaign.
Friday 4 June, 09.39 - Work from home message could continue to save 21 June easing
The Government is considering retaining its work from home message beyond Monday 21 June, it has been reported.
Ministers are looking at slight changes to 'freedom day' on 21 June, which would see all legal limits on social contact removed.
The Telegraph newspaper reported Whitehall officials are considering continuing the policy as a mitigating measure should virus hospitalisations and deaths surge.
Officials believe continuing this message would not have a detrimental economic fallout given existing support for city-centre businesses and a voluntary uptake in work-from-home approaches among companies.
A Treasury source told The Telegraph: “Obviously working from home does have some consequences, but there’s no difference between now and two weeks’ time because the economic support will still be in place. There’s not that imperative to change the advice.”
16.19 - 'Anxiety and panic'
Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said speculation about the pandemic has caused "anxiety and panic" among some sectors.
What surprises me, are these scientists and professeurs, briefing the media on speculation.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) June 3, 2021
Do they not understand the anxiety and panic they are causing amongst some sectors.
You'd think that they, more than other professions, would understand mental health.
Data not dates.
14.27 - Half of adults have been vaccinated twice
More than half of UK adults have received two doses of a Covid vaccine, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced.
Another Important milestone today. 50% of all adults in the U.K. have had the protection of two doses. Thank you to a brilliant team. We keep going. @Emily_JR_Lawson@maddymcternan@jonathanleach13@NikkiKF@AHamiedNHS@NHSuk— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) June 3, 2021
It was announced yesterday (2 June) that 75% of UK adults had received one dose of a vaccine.
12.41 - BBPA calls for 'greater support' if unlocking delayed
As the vaccine push continues, we're calling for all restrictions to removed in pubs on June 21st.— British Beer & Pub Association (@beerandpub) June 3, 2021
If restrictions are not removed on June 21st brewers and pubs will need far greater support from the Government.#Countdown2Freedompic.twitter.com/jvbWPjwjCf
10.43 - Vaccine passport plans 'killed off'
Government plans to legally enforce ‘vaccine passports’ for large events have reportedly been dropped to the delight of night life bosses.
Officials are reviewing the potential of Covid-19 status certification, which would see individuals required to show vaccination status, a negative test result or proof of recent immunity.
Ministers had been looking at adapting the NHS Covid app to use the system to unlock busy events including festivals, nightclubs and sporting matches.
However, The Telegraph newspaper has reported that officials believe the concept of legally enforcing such a policy had “been killed off.”
09.52 - Recruitment drive anticipated by most bosses
Almost nine in 10 hospitality bosses expect to face staff shortages this year, according to survey results from CGA and Fourth.
Half of respondents (51%) to the Business Confidence Survey said they anticipated shortages in all roles while another 39% said they were worried about back of house roles.
Nine in 10 (88%) bosses expect to hire staff this year with just under half (44%) of them to a greater extent than expected.
The figures come as trade bodies have called on the Government to restore confidence in the sector by pushing forward with the 21 June lockdown easing step.
Thursday 3 June, 09.15 - England will unlock 'as one' with no local lockdowns
England will stick to a national approach to unlocking unlike Scotland, it has been revealed.
Local lockdowns and a return to a tier system of measures were ruled out by the Prime Minister's spokesperson this week.
The spokesperson told journalists that England would not copy Scotland in its regional levels framework. “This is a national endeavour and we’re moving through the roadmap as one," the spokesperson said.
Ministers have previously been hesitant to rule out any geographically targeted measures and confusion arose over fresh guidance for areas affected by the so-called Indian variant of coronavirus last month.
While there have occasionally been "spikes in individual areas," data shows the virus is quick to spread to neighbouring areas, the spokesperson said.
“So it’s important that everybody remains cautious, that everybody continues to abide by the latest advice, because again it’s important we do so to continue to drive down infection rates, continue to drive down hospitalisations and deaths," they added.
Areas in the north west - including Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen - had been singled out as hotspots for the new Delta variant.
However, up to 75% of new Covid cases in the UK are now thought to be the variant, with cases found across the country including in Cornwall, Wycome and the Forest of Dean.
15.51 - 75% of UK adults have received one jab
The UK has passed the milestone of three quarters of UK adults receiving one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking at an event in Oxford, health secretary Matt Hancock said: "As of midnight last night, I can confirm that we now have given a first dose of vaccine to three quarters of the adult population of the United Kingdom."
On the 21 June lockdown step, he said: "There is nothing in the data to say we are definitively off track - but it is too early to make that decision."
Hospitality bosses reacted to the vaccination news on social media with UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls saying the milestone should "give us confidence to unlock 21 June."
This is an incredible achievement and we also have almost all the most vulnerable 9 groups with both jabs - this should give us confidence to unlock 21 June https://t.co/Ks3g2V8pAy— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) June 2, 2021
13.58 - 'Nothing in the data' to suggest roadmap delay
The Prime Minister has said there is "nothing in the data at the moment that means we cannot go ahead" with the next step of lockdown measures.
However, he said an inevitable increase in infection rates meant the country had to "be so cautious."
Boris Johnson said ministers were still waiting for more data on the Delta virus variant first identified in India, ahead of a decision on 14 June.
He said: "What we need to work out is to what extent the vaccination programme has protected enough of us, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, against a new surge, and there I'm afraid the data is still ambiguous.
"The best the scientists can say at the moment is we just need to give it a little bit longer."
12.23 - Country must 'move on' from Covid restrictions
A leading scientist has said the focus of ministers should be on managing "hospitalisations, serious disease and deaths," rather than cases.
Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University and part of the Oxford/AstraZeneca endeavour, warned that Covid-19 was "here to stay probably forever."
While many scientists have called on the Government to hold off on easing restrictions further in a few weeks, the professor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the country must "move on".
He said: "If we scamper down a rabbit hole every time we see a new variant, we're going to spend a long time huddled away."
Sir John cautioned that COVID "is here to stay probably forever" and said the focus should now be on managing "hospitalisations, serious disease and deaths", not cases.
11.08 - Slash taxes to save pubs, MPs urge
Pubs and breweries desperately need the Government to stick to the 21 June lockdown easing date in order to survive, MPs have claimed in a fresh report.
The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) said the sector needs immediate support as sales will not return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2022 at the earliest.
The report recommended taxes be slashed for publicans and brewers through lower beer duty, VAT or business rates.
Chair of the APPBG, Mike Wood MP, said: “Brexit provides an opportunity for the Chancellor to charge lower duty rates on draught beers – it’s an opportunity we would urge him to consider.
"For instance, halving the duty on draught beer – a cut of 22p on an average strength pint – would be a £600 million shot in the arm to save our pubs and breweries.”
10.04 - Welsh contact tracing scheme extended
Wales' contact tracing scheme will be extended until March 2022 to identify outbreaks of coronavirus, it has been revealed.
The Welsh Government announced an extra £32m funding for the Test, Trace, Protect service.
It comes after concerns that cases of the Delta variant - known as the Indian variant - could spread quickly.
Wednesday 2 June, 09.10 - 'Time to press ahead with roadmap' after zero deaths reported
The UK reported zero Covid deaths yesterday (1 June) for the first time since the pandemic began, causing hospitality bosses to reiterate calls for the next unlocking step to go ahead on 21 June.
Yesterday recorded 0 Coronavirus deaths.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) June 2, 2021
The first time in 447 days.
We’ve all done our bit.
21st JUNE: LIFT ALL RESTRICTIONS.
Lifting all legal limits on social contact and scrapping trading rules such as table service and social distancing will be needed for businesses to be viable, bosses said.
Zero deaths a small number of hospitalisations and vaccines clearly working - time to press ahead with Step 4 of the roadmap, unlock last remaining businesses, remove restrictions from hospitality and rebuild and recover https://t.co/rIMBL17Ujo— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) June 1, 2021
Officials have warned that there is a lag between cases, hospitalisations and deaths and the country is yet to see the full impact of the 17 May lockdown easing on the numbers.
What’s more, reports of daily deaths are often lower at the start of the week.
Health secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news but cautioned the country had not "beaten" coronavirus yet.
He is expected address the public later as the UK will pass the milestone of 75% of adults receiving one dose of a vaccine.
Scientists have issued warnings about a premature easing amid rising numbers of cases of the Delta virus variant first identified in India.
16.05 - Any roadmap delay must be matched with financial support, UKH boss says
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has urged the Government to commit to additional financial support should there be any delays made to the unlocking roadmap.
"Any delay in the roadmap would have a devastating effect on an already fragile hospitality sector," Nicholls said.
I have heard this too — few weeks’ delay is not a big deal, right? Wrong! 25% of hospitality hasn’t been able to open and those who have are trading at a loss because of restrictions. That’s not sustainable. A couple of extra weeks is difference between going under and surviving https://t.co/6OO82uPkBP— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) June 1, 2021
She added: “Should the timings slip and restrictions remain beyond 21 June, it’s vital that further financial support from the Government is forthcoming, including business rates payments being postponed until at least October, and an extension of the rent moratorium while a long-term solution is found, as well as permanent lowering of VAT on hospitality goods and services.
"Businesses need a swift, publicly stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of a delay, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.”
15.46 - Lockdown easing halted for parts of Scotland
Scotland must be cautious with easing lockdown measures as it is in a "transition phase" tackling coronavirus, the First Minister for Scotland has said.
Glasgow will move to level two restrictions from one minute past midnight on Saturday, meaning pubs can finally serve pints indoors.
Much of the central belt will remain in level two after experiencing rising cases of the Delta virus variant, including Edinburgh, Dundee and Stirling.
However, other areas including Aberdeen City will move to level one restrictions as hoped.
Under level one, groups of up to eight people from three households can meet in an indoor public place including a pub.
Hospitality venues can open indoors until 11pm in level one compared to a 10.30pm curfew at level two.
"No part of the country is going backwards today," Sturgeon said. "Before the vaccines, that would have been impossible on case numbers like this. But the vaccines are changing the game. And that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond."
14.02 - 'A few extra weeks of Covid rules will mean business failures'
Chief executive of Camerons Brewery Chris Soley has warned a delay to lockdown easing plans could mean the collapse of many pub businesses.
A few extra weeks of restricted trading means the end of the road for many more pub operators— Chris Soley (@chrissoley) June 1, 2021
Its that finely balanced
Many are surviving by a thread
Scientists and journalists in secure lockdown jobs have no idea of the physical mental and financial anguish
June 21st it ends
11.58 - Operators report staffing difficulties
I’ve had to close bookings and declare my pub is ‘full’ today as I don’t have the staff to do full table service and checking in every customer. I’ve also lost chefs who couldn’t afford to live on furlough. The support is there from the customers but not from the government.— Chris Haines (@ChrisHainestuns) June 1, 2021
We struggled with table service for food and drink in our beer garden, wait times were long as it's so slow compared to the proper way of operating, staff were great but learning table service as we go, the sooner that stupid rule goes the better— Ian Mitty (@ianmitty) June 1, 2021
- Did you struggle with staffing demands over the bank holiday weekend? Get in touch on email@example.com
10.44 - Glasgow restrictions will 'spread virus further'
Scottish operators have warned continued lockdown measures in Glasgow could do more harm to public health than good.
Glasgow will remain under level three measures for at least one more week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week.
Businesses had hoped the city would be able to move into level two measures, meaning pubs could serve alcohol indoors.
"So, if things are really that bad that there needs to be this continued lockdown, then this is a counter-productive move and makes no sense as far as the government’s policy is concerned." @scottishgroup#ukpubshttps://t.co/85l1jta8CG— The Morning Advertiser (@morningad) June 1, 2021
09.55 - Uncertainty over lockdown easing causing 'wave of panic'
Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said the uncertainty over the 21 June easing has caused a “wave of panic” among operators.
“While the ringing of tills and clinking of pint glasses have been welcome sounds to the ears of bar owners, the scars of the pandemic will take years to heal," he explained. "Having spent half a billion on measures to create safe environments, the vast majority are currently trading at a loss.”
This mornings headlines of question marks over the 21st June makes no sense.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) May 28, 2021
Retail is fully open. No real measures. Mass mixing.
Hospitality support starts to fall away on the 1st July.
The next 3 weeks are critical. It's a ticking time bomb.
Continued closure of licensed nightclubs could see a rise of “unregulated, unlicensed illegal mass gatherings, which quickly surge out of control and bring with them an increased likelihood of illegal substance misuse,” Lord added.
Data must be used to justify any continued restrictions, the operator cautioned. “So long as hospitalisations remain low, we must continue on our path to normality, for the mental health of operators and society at large.”
Ministers will decide whether to progress with unlocking ahead of 14 June, a week before any changes would be introduced.
Tuesday 1 June, 09.21 - Premature lockdown easing could 'be a problem for everyone'
Scientists have issued stark warnings over the potential consequences of easing lockdown measures further this month, as planned in the Government's roadmap.
It comes as pub sector figureheads and operators have urged ministers to stick with intentions to scrap table service and social distancing rules from 21 June.
Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was still “vulnerability across the country.”
“The idea that somehow the job is done, is wrong," he said.
"We've still got a lot of people out there who've neither had this virus... nor yet been immunized, and that's why we're in a vulnerable position right now.”
He warned another shutdown would be detrimental for the economic as well as for public health and would “be a problem for everyone.”
Ministers will examine data available on the variant first identified in India, renamed the Delta variant by the World Health Organisation.
There were another 3,383 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK yesterday (Monday 31 May), meaning six days in a row that the number has been above 3,000.
However, there were no new Covid deaths in England yesterday, which sector voices have pointed to as evidence the vaccination rollout is helping prevent severe disease.
- What impact would a delay to step four of the Government's roadmap have on your pub or bar business? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
15.43 - 'Stark reality' for nightlife industry
“The stark reality for both the industry and for Government is that thousands of businesses risk being plunged into further financial hardship by a deviation from the reopening plan." @wearethentiahttps://t.co/FB7pHR4tw8— The Morning Advertiser (@morningad) May 28, 2021
14.49 - Glasgow measures 'counter-productive'
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group and owner of Townhead Hotel, Lockerbie, has said continued restrictions for Glasgow pose a public health risk.
He said: "All that’s going to happen is people will continue to travel outside Glasgow city centre, further spreading the virus. We already know that’s happening.
"So, if things are really that bad that there needs to be this continued lockdown, then this is a counter-productive move and makes no sense as far as the government’s policy is concerned."
12.57 - Glasgow to remain under tougher measures
Glasgow will remain under level three measures for at least one more week, Nicola Sturgeon announced.
Businesses had hoped the city would be able to move into level two measures, meaning pubs could serve alcohol indoors.
However, Sturgeon said the Indian variant of Covid-19 was accounting for about half of new cases in the city.
The city may be able to move to level two on Saturday of next week, the minister added.
11.16 - Pubs to lose out on £80m bank holiday pint sales
Pubs are set to serve 21m fewer pints than normal over the spring bank holiday weekend.
While British operators will serve 42m pints over the long weekend, continued restrictions mean pubs are still turning customers away.
The estimate comes from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which has warned trade is still hampered by Covid-19 measures despite a positive first week of indoor trading.
Pubs will miss out on £80m in revenue from pint sales this weekend, down 34% on revenue for pre-pandemic spring bank holiday weekends.
Operators are hopeful stringent rules such as one metre plus social distancing, the rule of six and mandated table service will be done away with next month.
Friday 28 May, 09.21 - Pubs anticipate Glasgow Covid announcement
Pub operators in Glasgow are waiting to find out if they will be permitted to serve alcohol to customers indoors in a change of coronavirus measures.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will give an update on the data at just after midday today (28 May).
She has previously said there are "reasons to be optimistic" about the city's situation.
The rest of mainland Scotland is in level two, meaning businesses can serve alcohol indoors until a 10.30pm curfew.
Glasgow has experienced a relatively high rate of new infections compared to the rest of the country, driven by the Indian variant of the virus.
Scottish pub operators told The Morning Advertiser of their shock when it was decided at the eleventh hour that Glasgow would be held back from an easing of restrictions on 17 May.
15.38 - All Welsh adults to receive jab offer next month
Wales is set to have offered all adults a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine more than a month earlier than expected.
The Welsh Government said the milestone will be reached "over the next couple of weeks".
13.04 - 'We may need to wait'
Boris Johnson drops big hint that the great unlocking on June 21 could be delayed. “I don't see anything in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the roadmap. But we may need to wait."— Kate Ferguson (@kateferguson4) May 27, 2021
10.46 - 'Let's focus on 21 June'
Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said the sector must not "lose sight" on the final step of lockdown easing.
It comes as former adviser to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, has accused health secretary Matt Hancock of repeatedly lying to the public about the pandemic.
We will all have opinions on the Cummings/Johnson debacle.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) May 27, 2021
There will be a time to question everything and I have formally requested to be at the Spring Enquiry.
For now, we mustn't lose sight.
Let's focus on the 21st June.
Thursday 27 May, 09.44 - Next fortnight of variant data 'critical'
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London and former SAGE scientist has reiterated that the 21 June lockdown easing point is hanging "in the balance."
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the professor said the data collected in the next two to three weeks on the variant would be "critical."
It was "concerning" that the Indian coronavirus variant was the dominant strain with the majority of new Covid cases being the variant, Ferguson said.
The new variant is thought to be more transmissible than previous variants but scientists are still trying to work out by how much.
Initial research has found two doses of a vaccine provide good protection but this is to a lesser degree than for the Kent variant.
Ferguson added: "On the positive side, we do have very low infection levels still.
“The key issue as to whether we can go forward is: will the surge caused by the Indian variant – and we do think there will be a surge – be more than has been already planned in the relaxation measures?”
15.25 - Covid loans: what has your experience been?
As many as 16,000 small firms may never pay off Government pandemic loans, figures have revealed.
Some 1% of 670 senior staff working in UK small businesses said they do not ever expect to pay back their loans, according to a poll by Barclay Payments.
- What has your experience been with Government loans this year? Are you optimistic about repayment? Get in touch on email@example.com to share your story.
14.11 - Variant advice has 'considerable knock on effect' for pubs
Pub operators in variant hotspots are attempting to reassure customers of their safety measures after confusion over Government coronavirus guidance.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls was keen to stress the guidance was not mandatory and did not mean indoor hospitality needed to shut. “This advice is just that – advice,” she said.
“However, it has quite clearly caused a considerable amount of confusion and uncertainty amongst residents and businesses in these areas. This has a considerable knock on effect on the hospitality sector, damaging consumer confidence meaning operators now face the prospect of lost bookings and sales," Nicholls continued.
“The sector has only just reopened after months of closure and over a year of severely disrupted trading, with businesses in a very fragile state, so clear communication and consultation with business is needed.”
12.03 - End to table service rules 'critical' for small pubs
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII)'s CEO Steve Alton has said the vast majority of the institute's members will be "break even at best" as long as restrictions remain in place.
Scrapping table service regulations would be "critical" for pubs with limited table space and outdoor areas, he said.
While the Government has delayed the publication of a report into the future of social distancing until next month, it is thought officials are keen to scrap the table service rule from 21 June to help pubs rebuild.
Alton added: “Many of our smaller pubs, particularly in town centres where space is at a premium, need all table service and social distancing regulations lifted in order to be able to reopen at all. If we can follow the roadmap as it was laid out at the beginning of the year, and remove all of these barriers to profitability no later than the 21 June, then our members can at last begin the long road to recovery.
“We must remember however, that they will be facing the return of many significant costs, including business rates in July for pubs in England, which even with the retail discount, will be a huge cost to bear when they are already saddled with debts from the past year."
The organisation is pushing for a full business rates holiday, a continuation of the VAT cut to 5% until 2022 and a differential rate of duty for draught products in pubs.
10.56 - Government 'fell disastrously short' on pandemic response
The PM's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings is giving evidence on the Government's approach to the pandemic.
He will face questions for four hours in a joint hearing of the Commons Heath and Science and Technology committees today.
Cummings said "senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me fell disastrously short" and has described the initial pandemic approach in March as like an "out of control movie."
"It's clear that the official plan was wrong, it's clear the whole advice was wrong, it's clear we should have locked down in the first week of March at the latest."— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 26, 2021
Clearest statement on this from anyone in government yet.
Wednesday 26 May, 09.12 - Government relaxes travel guidance for variant hotspots
The Government has amended guidance on travel for areas experiencing a growth in cases of the B.1.617.2 variant of coronavirus first identified in India.
Initial advice published last week had recommended that people avoid travel unless it was for an essential reason.
People have now been advised to minimise travel in and out of Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside.
The Government had been accused of trying to reimpose local lockdowns by stealth.
On Friday night the Government rolled out lockdown-lite through the back door. The guidance is likely to have major implications on businesses, schools and the hospitality sector and I'm furious that the Government hasn’t bothered to consult the local authorities involved. 1/4— Kate Hollern MP (@Kate_HollernMP) May 25, 2021
- Have you received cancellations after the updated guidance? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
15.02 - Opposition urges Government to recall updated guidance
Labour has called on the Government to withdraw its updated guidance for a number of areas in northern England.
The Government has been accused of trying to impose local lockdowns "by stealth," by leaders including Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the guidance was not statutory and it was up to individuals to make their own decisions
They said: "Throughout we have been clear that people in these areas should recognise the extra risk posed by the variant and exercise their judgement."
Downing Street also confirmed there would be no extra financial support for the hospitality sector in the hotspot areas.
Bolton council leader David Greenhalgh says he is relieved to be able to reassure people that there are "no added restrictions coming to Bolton and there's no local lockdown." Says the emphasis must be on surge vaccinations and surge testing rather than lockdown.— Helen Pidd (@helenpidd) May 25, 2021
13.43 - 'Customer queries and cancellations'
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has reported businesses are experiencing cancellations after Government guidance changed for eight areas.
It is also causing particular challenges for hospitality and tourism businesses who are facing customer queries and cancellations - uncertainty hampers confidence https://t.co/bANoOcRbtY— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) May 25, 2021
While no laws have changed, individuals in Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside have been advised to exercise extra caution and meet up outdoors.
It has also been advised that people do not travel in and out of the affected areas unless it is for essential reasons such as work or education.
The areas have experienced rising cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant.
- Are you in one of the mentioned areas? Get in touch on email@example.com to let us know the impact of the changed guidance on your trade
12.15 - Night time bosses 'deeply concerned' about staff shortages
The recovery of nightclubs will be threatened by a shortage of door security staff unless the Government intervenes, late night sector bosses have warned.
In an open letter to the Government, leaders from the UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) and Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have pleaded for a relaxation of training requirements.
Fresh training standards require double the hours, taking seven and a half days to complete compared to a previous four day course.
Initial course pass rates have dropped from 90% to under 50% because of tougher exams, the groups said.
A UKDSA spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned that a culmination of issues within our sector will generate a dramatic shortfall in licensed security resources.
"It is obvious to everyone that the upcoming season for events and festivals, coupled with the re-opening of hospitality and nightlife, will present an unprecedented level of demand in a very short period of time.
"This is a demand that we won’t be able to fulfill and could put public health at risk.”
11.07 - Most operators predict better than average sales this summer
About two thirds (66%) of operators are anticipating trading over the summer to be above average, research has revealed.
The Hospitality Leaders Poll, conducted by Lumina Intelligence on behalf of The Morning Advertiser, MCA, Big Hospitality and Restaurant surveyed 125 operators.
When broken down, just over half (54%) predict summer trade will be ‘good’, 12% said ‘exceptional’ while just over a quarter (26%) said they thought the summer would be ‘average’ and 8% said ‘poor’.
Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher
09.44 - Social distancing review delayed
A Cabinet Office review into the future of social distancing will not be published this month, it has been reported.
The report was initially due to be published by the end of this month (May), ahead of the Government's decision on progressing to the next step of unlockdown next month.
However, ministers have decided to delay the report for more time to gather data on the presence of the Indian variant of coronavirus.
A June 21 wobble. The social distancing review won't be published this month after all, despite the PM's promise last Friday that it would. No10: "It's reasonable for new variants such as this to gather as much data as possible to inform our decisions".— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) May 24, 2021
Tuesday 25 May, 09.17 - Eight areas advised to not meet indoors
Government guidance has been issued for the areas in England where coronavirus cases of the Indian variant are spreading, including advice to meet outdoors.
Local leaders have responded in anger after little publicity was made about the guidance's publication on the Government website last week (Friday 21 May).
The guidance states that "wherever possible" people should meet outside rather than inside, keep two metres apart from different households and avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential.
The guidance lists Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside as areas affected by the variant which "spreads more easily from person to person."
The guidance will come as a blow for licensees who only just reopened for indoor trade last week (Monday 17 May).
- Are you in one of the areas listed above? Are you worried this Government message will deter customers from visiting your business? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
16.43 - 'Long lasting financial effects of the pandemic'
Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has called for further support for businesses.
"The financial impact of the pandemic will have long lasting effects on the night time economy, with many businesses facing debt burdens so large it may take them three years to fully recover," he said.
Lord called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to pledge a long-term extension of the 5% VAT reduction for the sector and to extend the rate to include alcohol.
14.54 - Under 30s to be jabbed soon
People under 30 in England could be offered a coronavirus jab within the next week, the Daily Mail has reported.
The UK celebrated 30m vaccines on Sunday 23 May with more than 750,000 people jabbed on Saturday.
The Daily Mail has reported that everyone in their 30s will have recieved a vaccine invivation within thge next three days, moving on to those in their 20s shortly afterwards.
12.20 - Covid loans: what has your experience been?
As many as 16,000 small firms may never pay off Government pandemic loans, figures have revealed.
Some 1% of 670 senior staff working in UK small businesses said they do not ever expect to pay back their loans, according to a poll by Barclay Payments.
- What has your experience been with Government loans this year? Are you optimistic about repayment? Get in touch on email@example.com to share your story.
12.13 - 'Restrictions should be fully lifted'
4 weeks today, 21st June, restrictions should be fully lifted.— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) May 24, 2021
The data is looking positive.
Hospitality can trade normally and start to pay off the crippling debt its accrued.
Peoples mental health can start a journey of recovery.
11.36 - 'Confirm social distancing changes at the earliest opportunity'
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has said reports that social distancing rules will be scrapped next month are "very welcomed if true" but said the trade must see the detail.
She added: "However, we must wait to see the full detail of plans as any restrictions in venue will continue to impact revenue and business viability. A return to unrestricted trading on 21 June is critical and will mean hospitality businesses come off life support and be viable for the first time in almost 16 months.
"We urge the Government to confirm reopening dates and these plans at the earliest opportunity, which will boost confidence and allow companies to step up planning and bring staff back.”
10.08 - 'Turning thousands of customers away'
One pub operator has said the 21 June step is crucial for businesses to be able to pay debts and turn a profit.
Pubs full. But only full with reduced capacity. Turning thousands of customers away every week.— Tim Foster (@YummyTim) May 23, 2021
As we trade & open like this we keep the lights on but it’s not paying down the huge debts we taken on, nor is it making profit.
21st June at the latest to end this https://t.co/rP0DRVkvA6
Monday 24 May, 09.55 - PM to declare roadmap is 'on track'
Boris Johnson is expected to announce the country is still on track to lift all remaining lockdown laws from 21 June, in an address this week.
The PM will update the public on the latest numbers of case numbers and hospitalisations concerning the Indian coronavirus variant.
While Johnson will not confirm the roadmap's next step this week, he will indicate it is very likely to go ahead, according to a report in The Telegraph.
The newspaper's Government source said the PM will state that "if things do continue to go well and we don't see a huge change in the data, and the latest data we are presented with is still positive, things are looking on track".
Whitehall officials are also understood to be discussing removing the table service requirement and one metre plus social distancing rule for hospitality venues.
For the country to progress to the next step of lockdown easing, the assessment of the risks must not be "fundamentally changed by new variants of concern."
However, initial research has found that two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca jabs are highly effective against the new variant, first identified in India.