‘Gov trying to get balance right’ with Plan B

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

State rule: compulsory face masks does not apply in the hospitality sector, including pubs, the Government confirmed this week (image: Getty/mammuth)
State rule: compulsory face masks does not apply in the hospitality sector, including pubs, the Government confirmed this week (image: Getty/mammuth)

Related tags Government Legislation Business

The Government has brought in “proportionate measures” and is “trying to get the balance right” small business Paul Scully has said.

Scully told BBC Breakfast​ this morning (Friday 10 December) the new measures were “undoubtedly difficult for businesses”.

He said the hospitality sector was permitted to stay open “because we know this is their biggest few weeks, which they rely on to cover them for quieter January and February”.

In a Downing Street press conference earlier this week (Wednesday 8 December), the Prime Minister outlined the country would be moving to ‘Plan B’​, which included face masks in more indoor settings.

Financial aid

From today (Friday 10 December), face coverings are compulsory in theatres and cinemas as well as shops and public transport. However, hospitality businesses are not included in the rule.

Alongside this, Johnson called for workers to work from home if you can, resulting in hospitality sector trade bodies highlighting how town and city venues would be hit.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls called on the Government for extended financial support in light of the announcement.

Devastating risk

She said: “While the Government clearly acknowledges that hospitality is safe and can continue to host celebrations in the lead up to Christmas, the measures announced today will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues.

"As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year.  We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the announcement was a “huge blow” for the sector and the work from home message would be devastating for pubs near offices and in town centres.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “The festive period is crucial to the recovery of our sector, so these restrictions could not have come at a more important trading time. They threaten the viability of pubs who will lose vital revenue over the Christmas period and so the Government will need to look at providing support.

“We are pleased though Covid passports are not applicable to the vast majority of pubs, as [the] Government has recognised this would have been totally unworkable.

“It is important to remember pubs are a safe environment with less than 2% of Covid outbreaks traced to hospitality venues. We hope while following the new guidelines, customers continue to visit their local pubs this Christmas to spend quality time with friends and family.”

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