UK Hospitality approves of ‘Living with Covid’ plan
Trade body UK Hospitality has welcomed the UK government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan, which will scrap all remaining legal Covid-19 restrictions in England.
The plans, outlined yesterday (21 February) by UK prime minister Boris Johnson, include ending the legal requirement to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19. The measures will come into effect from Thursday 24 February.
From 1 April, free mass testing will also end for most people, with exceptions for the most vulnerable.
The £500 (US$680) isolation payment, for people on low incomes who must isolate, will also end this week.
Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO, said: “It is heartening to hear that we are moving to trading based on the safety measures that businesses have put in place and we hope that this will ignite consumer confidence in our sector and beyond.
“The hospitality industry has proved that its venues are safe for staff and consumers and that, when allowed to trade without restrictions, it can be a major driver of economic growth and recovery. We are pleased to see that much of our five-point plan for living with Covid has been taken forward by government.
“Hospitality was hit first – longest and hardest by this pandemic, and with costs rising across the board and a VAT rise due this April – just as the cost-of-living crisis is set to bite – businesses in the sector still need support.
“At the very least, we need the government [to] commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% beyond April in order for the industry to be able to play its full role in the UK’s social and economic recovery.”
Last week, UK Hospitality and CGA revealed data that showed the pandemic had cost the hospitality sector £115 billion (US$156.3bn) in lost sales during the last two years.
Furthermore, almost half of hospitality operators believe that there will be an ‘inevitable’ price hike for consumers in 2022 as a result of financial losses over the Christmas period.