Hospitality divided on whether Plan B restrictions will knock consumer confidence

By Amelie Maurice-Jones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Uncertain times: The industry is divided on the impact Plan B will have (Getty/ Charday Penn)
Uncertain times: The industry is divided on the impact Plan B will have (Getty/ Charday Penn)

Related tags: Health and safety, Legislation, Government, Coronavirus, ukhospitality

The industry is torn by whether consumer confidence would dramatically be influenced by additional Plan B restrictions, according to Guest Experience Management expert HGEM’s snap poll.

Plan B rules, which came into force on 10 December, include compulsory mask wearing in public spaces, working from home guidance and the implementation of NHS Covid Passes for larger venues and nightclubs.

In the poll, which generated more than 70 responses from hospitality professionals, 47% of respondents voted ‘Yes’, while 53% saw the situation in a more positive light and voted ‘No’.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said Boris Johnson’s Plan B 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.

Christmas cheer

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.

However, McClarkin said the company was pleased Covid passports were not made applicable to the majority of pubs, as the Government had recognised this would have been “totally unworkable”.

“It’s 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,” said McClarkin.

Devastating impact

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls called on the Government to extend financial support in light of the Plan B measures, reflecting McClarkin’s comments on venues in towns and city centres.

She said: “While the Government clearly acknowledges 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 devestating 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 protections and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”

Related topics: Legislation

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