With so much uncertainly and so much going on in both the UK and around the world with the COVID19 Coronavirus outbreak, some industries are thriving, with the likes of food sales, face masks, hand sanitiser and toilet paper all doing a roaring trade, for others, these times will be particularly tough. However, as the UK has and will again, we must pull together and help those that need it most; we always do, and we will do it again. That includes, wherever we can, doing even just a little something for those industries which employ so many good, hardworking people and that will have so many questions they are yearning to have answered:
- How will the hospitality industry cope?
- What support is the Government offering?
- How can we help as customers?
The Hospitality Industry
The consequences of Quarantine and social distancing may have irreversible effects on the hospitality industry. Following the prime minister’s appeal for the public to avoid pubs, restaurant, theatres and other social venues, these enterprises have been noted as largely at-risk as they remain reliant on people attending the locations. Fears are amounting, particularly amongst small-business owners which will be unable to cope should the situation continue. The long-term effects on these businesses will be dependant on how long people stay at home.
The hospitality industry is one of the largest in Britain, contributing more than £120 billion to the economy each year. Across the UK, more than 3.2 million people work in pubs, restaurants and other social venues, and the number of establishments was on the rise, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, business owners believe that the Coronavirus outbreak will be devastating for the industry. Many initially criticised the government for warning people to avoid businesses without offering any financial support.
What Support is Available for Businesses?
The government has outlined a package of measures to help companies suffering from the effects of the Coronavirus. At Tuesday afternoon’s Coronavirus briefing, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced at least £330 billion in loans backed by the state would be accessible to businesses.
Businesses in the hospitality sector will be provided with a £25,000 grant, also available to small retail and leisure businesses. The Treasury has said that the funding will be available from the start of next week. There will also be a £10,000 cash grant available for the UK’s smallest enterprises, delivered by local authorities. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Finally, the government is introducing a 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.
How Can We Help as Customers?
Customers have also been launching schemes to support bars and cafes through the crisis. A number of pubs and restaurants have been promoting their voucher programs in hopes of keeping cash flowing during the outbreak. Buying vouchers to use at a later date may be key to keeping some venues in business. Take-away and delivery options are also still available for many restaurants and bars and using these could help keep your favourite small venues afloat.
Many smaller gyms and fitness studios which have closed due to the outbreak are offering membership freezes. If you can afford to do so, choosing not to freeze or cancel your membership will support the owners and employees. To help service-based companies, like beauty salons, customers can prepay for future appointments. At this time, you might also consider shopping for groceries and essentials at smaller businesses that need support more than ever.