Prime minister Boris Johnson’s advice that the public should “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues,” as part of a wider measure to “stop non-essential contact with others” to fight coronavirus that he delivered in his first live address yesterday has been labelled ‘catastrophic for business and jobs’ by UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls (pictured).
She said, “The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.
“Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.
“The Government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.
“We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.”
Commenting on the announcement, Les Ross, licensee at The Douglas Arms in Dumfries, said, “If you’re not supposed to come to the pub, why am I still opening? It’s like telling everyone to stop eating cheese while saying all the cheese shops should carry on as normal. I’m hoping Nicola Sturgeon sorts this out today.”