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Published on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Thousands of hospitality jobs to go, despite businesses getting the go ahead to reopen on July 4

Many thousands of people in the business events, accommodation and meetings industry will be made redundant in the coming days, weeks and months despite an easing of the UK lockdown to allow hotels, bars and restaurants to reopen from July 4, an industry body has warned.

PM Boris Johnson also announced that social distancing can be reduced to one metre, which UKinbound said would allow many businesses to reopen without making a loss.

However, Lex Butler, chair of the events and hospitality association HBAA, said: "While we welcome the relaxing of this distance, damage has been done.

"The introduction of one metre plus social distancing makes meetings and events just about viable, keeping it at two metres they would not have been.

"The requirement for everyone to identify themselves as they arrive is an additional safety measure and giving everyone the confidence to visit venues and meet again safely is the immediate priority for our industry.

"Now, after chasing these guidelines for many weeks, the industry has less than two weeks to put these exact requirements in place.

"It's a challenge but one we're pleased to have at last.

"Even so, many thousands of people in the business events, accommodation and meetings industry will still be made redundant in the coming days, weeks and months.

"The industry still needs extra financial support a special extension of the furlough scheme, continuing business rates relief, commercial rent relief, a delay in payment of corporation tax and a reduction in VAT on accommodation and meetings packages until spring 2021 to keep businesses alive when, we hope, the hammer blows will stop and business will hopefully return."

Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound agreed. "Today's announcement that pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions can officially open on the 4 July will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, who have earned very little revenue since the beginning of March.

"Reducing social distancing from two metres to one will also ensure that many more businesses will be able to viably reopen at the start of next month.

"Although these measures are very much to be welcomed, Government needs to recognise that whilst some businesses will hopefully be able to re-coup a small proportion of their losses over the much shorter summer season, many businesses, especially those that rely wholly or mostly on inbound tourism, will have gone through the equivalent of 'three winters' and will need further financial support if they are to survive and continue to drive jobs and growth across the UK."

An ABTA spokesperson said: "The measures announced today to ease lockdown further in England and allow people to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, and take domestic holidays from 4 July, is a step in the right direction on the road to restarting travel in earnest.

"With travel restrictions in place for the last few months, there is latent demand to travel with people wanting to visit close family and friends and have something to look forward to.

"However, the travel sector remains in a perilous state, with redundancies announced each week, and more needs to be done to help the whole sector recover. We need a more comprehensive roadmap as soon as possible that includes timeframes for relaxing international travel restrictions too so businesses and customers can plan ahead.

"The process of sending people on holiday is not like turning on a tap; as much advance notice as possible from the Government is required for travel companies to restart operations."

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