Half of UK hospitality sites fear closureBy Owen Bellwood
More than half of small business owners in the UK hospitality sector fear their venues may be forced to permanently close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Research from insurance company Simply Business found that 19% of owners believe they are likely to close within three to six months, 15% think they could be forced to close in six to 12 months and 14% say they may have to close their doors permanently within the next three months.
The report from Simply Business analysed more than 250 businesses in the UK hospitality sector. As well as fears of closure across the sector, the research found that the financial impact of coronavirus on small businesses will exceed £21,586 (US$27,000) each in lost work, earnings and loan repayments.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “No business has been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.
“Few small businesses have been hit as hard as those in the hospitality industry, and it’s clear that many will take time to recover. Small business owners and the self-employed have shown how creative, determined and resilient they are throughout the pandemic, and we know they’re going to be crucial as the UK economy looks to bounce back.
“With many pubs, bars and restaurants now able to open their doors again, we’re hoping to see hospitality businesses begin to emerge from the most challenging period and start to get their livelihoods back on track.”
As the UK on-trade begins to reopen this month, 52% of businesses polled said they were worried about losing customers following the pandemic. The research also found that 35% are concerned about running out of money as they reopen, and 32% said they have had to borrow money from friends and family to keep afloat.
Despite support measures for the industry announced by the UK government in March, just 36% of businesses polled said they felt supported through the pandemic. The research also found that 39% of business owners felt there could have been greater communication and transparency from the UK government about the impact of Covid-19.