Pub bosses beg gov to let them reopen in April amid fears thousands could shut
Desperate pub and restaurant bosses are begging the government to allow them to reopen on April 1, warning hospitality industry faces pending disaster if not.
Hospitality venues are keen to open their doors again as they battle for survival with fixed overheads building up even as their doors remain closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
New analysis suggests 650,000 hospitality firms are at risk of collapse as they burn through their cash reserves. Industry figures are putting pressure on ministers to open if health advisers give the green light.
There are fears pubs, restaurants and other hospitality firms will be forced to stay closed until May.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said: "Hospitality is fighting for its very existence, off the back of its worst year on record.
"Our venues have been shut down and subjected to tyrannical tiers for many months since September. The future is grim, with many pubs, bars, restaurants and coffee shops lacking the cash to get through the coming weeks.
"Fixed costs are mounting up, even with staff on furlough, with no roadmap of when or how they will reopen. So further support is critical in ensuring businesses can welcome back customers in a safe and controlled way.
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"We are desperate to get back open, boost jobs and help the economy grow."
Analysis by Labour suggests as many as 650,000 businesses in the industry are at risk before lockdown ends.
Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell MP said: "A million firms are struggling with a cash crisis threatening jobs and livelihoods just as the vaccine offers hope.
"The cost of business insolvencies and unemployment on this scale would take a wrecking-ball to our economy.
"If the Government fails to act on this latest evidence, and doesn’t bring forward an urgent, comprehensive plan, they’ll be guilty of economic negligence that will choke off the recovery, and damage our country for years to come."
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