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Chloe Shakesby

"Devastating news for tourism and hospitality": The UK reacts to post-lockdown restrictions

The government has today set out its plans for the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions as the end of the lockdown period approaches.

It said this afternoon that the country is going back to the three tier system that was in place before the second lockdown, which will end on December 2.

The North East, Yorkshire and parts of the Midlands will be in Tier 3, with most other parts of the country in Tier 2.

Leaders from across the country commented on how the restrictions will affect businesses over the Christmas period.

Mary Lanigan, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

“We are disappointed that we have been placed in Tier Three by the Government, particularly after four weeks of national lockdown.

“The ongoing restrictions put a huge strain on people’s lives and threaten the prosperity of our borough as businesses cannot trade freely or plan with any confidence for the future. This is particularly acute in our brilliant hospitality sector, which cannot prosper at the busiest time of the year.

“However, it has been apparent for a number of weeks that the infection rate in Redcar and Cleveland has been too high and we have seen growing numbers of hospitalisations and people continuing to lose their lives to this terrible virus. We should never forget that for many families, Covid-19 has meant the loss of a loved one.

“Throughout the pandemic, the safety of our residents and visitors has been the priority. We hope everybody has an enjoyable Christmas but does so as safely as possible, particularly when visiting elderly relatives.

“Our fantastic shops will open again next week at the most important time of the year for the sector. Please take the opportunity to support them by shopping locally in a safe way.

“The way we can ease the restrictions is by bringing down the number of infections and reducing the pressure on the NHS. I know you have all made huge sacrifices over the past eight months, but it remains so important that everybody continues to follow the guidelines.

“If we do, we can all look forward to meeting friends and family more regularly and make sure as many jobs as possible are saved in our borough.”

Sarah Green, NewcastleGateshead Initiative

“Today’s announcement is devastating news for the tourism and hospitality industry and unfortunately will signal the closure of some businesses, with many more now making the decision not to open their doors until Easter.

“Under normal circumstances, hospitality businesses can take up to 30 per cent of their annual turnover in the month of December and this cash is then used to pay wages through the quieter months of January, February and March.

“While we understand that these decisions are not taken lightly, these measures will have a major impact, with long term economic consequences, loss of jobs and the resultant effect on the mental health of residents.

“We need more support for the tourism and hospitality industry to save as many jobs and businesses as possible and ensure that when visitors return to our region they can enjoy everything that makes the North East unique.”

Adam Marshall, BCC

“Ongoing restrictions in England will continue to have a devastating impact on businesses across the country.

“To weather a difficult winter ahead, greater support will be needed for the hardest-hit firms, including those in town and city centres that will miss out on trade as employees continue to work from home.

“Chambers have been clear that businesses need to see and understand the evidence behind these decisions.

“While the government has today added some clarity about the rationale for which restrictions apply where, they must waste no time in producing a full impact assessment and engage with businesses on how to mitigate the ongoing economic effect.

“A review of tiers on December 16 will provide hope for a way out of the strongest restrictions, but the process by which areas can move into new tiers should be transparent and include clear triggers and enough time to allow businesses to plan accordingly.

“There is no substitute for a fully functioning economy. Broad-based mass testing still holds the key to getting employees back into offices, suppliers and customers into shops and international travel and trade back up and running.

“Chambers continue to urge the government to redouble their efforts to improve its Test, Trace and Isolate system.”

Liam Griffin, Addison Lee

“We welcome today’s announcement that London will be placed in Tier 2 once the current national lockdown ends.

“London’s businesses require a minimal level of economic activity and connectivity in order to survive.

“This is particularly necessary over Christmas and it’s critical that everything is done to support the capital’s economy as restrictions continue.

“It is also vital that London’s political decision makers and business leaders work together to create a plan that shifts us into Tier 1 and longer-term economic recovery in the safest and most responsible way.

“This means recognising and rewarding businesses which have gone the extra mile to become Covid-secure, as a way to build back consumer confidence and keep Londoners safe.

“As an essential part of London’s transport network and the city’s most experienced PHV operator, Addison Lee is ready to play its part in supporting businesses and helping London get back on its feet.”

Stuart Procter, The Stafford Collection, London & Lancashire

“Across the Stafford Collection we’ve ended up with sites in both tier 2 and tier 3. Northcote located in the Ribble Valley has been told they cannot open which goes beyond frustrating.

“We’ve invested tens of thousands of pounds in PPE, thermo-cameras and generally making the venue Covid safe.

“Why are you able to get your hair cut in that same area but not visit arguable some of the safest spaces? It’s frustrating.

“Fortunately, we’ve got an excellent at home box which Lisa and the team have developed to keep them busy but it’s not the same as welcoming customers through the door.

“Then looking at London, we have The Stafford and Norma in tier 2. I’m of course delighted that we can open again and will be doing so on the 2 December, but the restrictions will continue to cause issues.

“Still no mixing of households indoors and a maximum table of six seems crazy when thousands of people are now allowed to attend a sporting event together.

“Of course, we keep soldiering on but there’s only so long we can keep going like this.”

Marcos Fernandez, Iberica Restaurants and Arros QD

“I am of the people that believe that the logical thing to do is to do short circuits during school holidays, when trade is already depressed.

“This way we maximise income and saving jobs. But as always this government is more focused on giving a jolly to the nation. Christmas is a small sacrifice to pay.”

Tom Aikens, Muse, Belgravia

“It seems that this time around there seems to have been a bit more thought put into the different tiering systems.

“The statistics show that hospitality is not the cause of the resurgence of the virus - as an industry we are strict with health and safety regulations anyway, and are the safest and most sanitised environments in which to meet.

“We’ve been used as the scapegoat for too long. We should be allowed to remain open, operating at our full capacity without the curfew - I really do question what that is really going to accomplish limiting last orders to 10pm.

“We should be given our full licence to run our venues and make as much revenue as we can - this year has been hard enough and the job losses catastrophic. This scaremongering has to stop - it’s turning customers away.

“Let us operate fully and help build up the economy again. It’s tough for small businesses as it is. Pubs and publicans, well they’re really not going to have a happy Christmas.”

Mohammad Paknejad, Nutshell, Covent Garden

“As expected, most of the country seems to have been placed in Tier 2 and Tier 3.

“What should have been the most prosperous period for hospitality venues across the country with all the festivities, will be another month of struggle for survival.

“We are all doing what we can and taking part in reducing pressure off the NHS and saving lives.

“Now, we need some help from the government in paying all the bills so we can save jobs and livelihoods.”

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