Covid-19 claims nearly 6,000 hospitality venuesBy Melita Kiely
Almost 6,000 licensed venues in Britain were forced to permanently close in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, sparking urgent calls for more financial help to support businesses and the wider economic recovery.
The latest Market Recovery Monitor data from CGA and Alix Partners showed the number of closures last year was almost three times higher than in 2019. Lockdowns contributed to a net decline of 5,975 sites in 2020, according to the report.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Our report takes stock of the huge damage wreaked by the pandemic on the licensed sector in 2020.
“With stop-start trading for much of 2020 and a widespread shutdown during what should have been a bumper Christmas, nearly 10,000 licensed venues have not been able to make it through and it is sadly inevitable that thousands more casualties will follow.”
Trade body UK Hospitality has warned hospitality businesses ‘must receive’ further financial support to survive the Covid-19 crisis and help rebuild the economy.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “The loss of 6,000 premises is a dreadful blow to this country’s hospitality sector, but it is going to be the tip of the iceberg if we continue on our current course.
“The sector’s outlet numbers have contracted 5% and one in five businesses say they do not have enough cash to last beyond February. Not surprisingly, many of the worst off are independent businesses teetering on the verge of collapse due, in large part, to the issue of rent debt.
“The forthcoming budget must be a one which delivers a bold, wide-ranging package of financial support to ensure as many businesses as possible are saved. The VAT cut and business rates holiday must be top of the menu.”