On-trade plans Hospo Demo protest in London

15th October, 2020 by Melita Kiely

Hospitality workers will stage a peaceful protest on Monday 19 October in Parliament Square, London, in opposition to restrictions such as the 10pm curfew in England and a lack of industry-specific support.


The hospitality sector is planning a peaceful protest on Monday 19 October

The Hospo Demo will take place from 10.30am BST to 12pm and workers are encouraged to come dressed in uniform with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers and other on-trade equipment to make some noise in front of the Houses of Parliament. All attendees have been advised to stick to social distancing measures and wear a face mask or covering.

The demonstration is being organised by industry marketer Rachel Harty. She said: “The blows that have been dealt to the UK hospitality industry over the last six months have caused a great deal of frustration and hardship. Hospitality outlets have responded by investing heavily in safety measures to enable staff to return to work and to encourage customers back through the door.

“However, the recent 10pm curfew and increasing local lockdowns have created an existential threat to a large proportion of hospitality businesses.

“The sector has already lost 25,000 premises since March and it’s time for strong government action to prevent the loss of more businesses and jobs, and protect a sector that is part of the fabric of this country.”

Hospitality is the UK’s third biggest industry and accounts for 10% of the nation’s employment.

Earlier this week, trade body UK Hospitality warned more financial help is urgently needed as many businesses in the sector are ‘quickly reaching the point of no return’.

Today (15 October), health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed London will move from medium alert level, tier one, to the high alert level, tier two, from midnight on Friday (16 October). This means no mixing of households in indoor settings, including pubs, bars and restaurants.

Ahead of the protest on Monday, UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said it was “no surprise” that industry professionals were in favour of protest and “we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of them”.

“Businesses are feeling the cumulative impact of all the restrictions placed on them and have really suffered since the introduction of the curfew, which has had a severe and devastating impact,” Nicholls said. “Without enhanced financial support that really recognises the situation, and without additional contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many businesses and jobs are going to fall by the wayside.”

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