A statement from Kevin Georgel.
“We are disappointed and concerned to hear today’s news about the 10pm curfew for hospitality. Our sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and these new restrictions will cost thousands of jobs and further damage businesses, that are already struggling to recover.
“As a pub company, we take the role we play in controlling the spread of the virus incredibly seriously. Since reopening on 4th July, we have worked tirelessly to adapt to new guidelines and made significant investments to ensure our pubs are safe, regulated and welcoming environments for our teams and customers. With the launch of the NHS Test & Trace app imminent, we will continue to stress the importance of complying with government regulations including the new ‘rule of six’.
"However, while we are fully committed to supporting the government in managing the risk of rising infection rates, there seems to be very little evidence linking hospitality with the recent rise in cases. Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality. Furthermore, a curfew increases the likelihood of pub goers socialising in non-regulated environments after 10pm."
“This is a very delicate moment in our sector’s recovery and the government must recognise that these new restrictions will inevitably damage consumer confidence. Initiatives like the Eat Out to Help Out scheme were hugely successful in rebuilding consumer confidence last month, but that progress is now in danger of being wiped out.
“A new support package for hospitality is essential to prevent thousands of job losses across the industry and help businesses work towards a safe and sustainable recovery. We need confirmation from the government that the VAT cut will be extended through to the end of 2021, that the business rates holiday will continue next year and that there will be a substantial cut to the rate of beer duty in the autumn budget. We would also welcome a sector-specific employment support package for hospitality.”