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Re-opening the hospitality sector safely
There has been a lot of speculation over the last few days about the issue of 1m social distancing.
This issue has become totemic, as the magic bullet that will fix the hospitality industry. That is incorrect and the issue is becoming a distraction from the real issues being faced by hospitality. The reality is that businesses and staff are being let down by a government that is still slow to test, track and trace.
Labour Business welcomes the approach being taken by Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds and the shadow Front Bench who recognise that we can’t be pushing for a relaxation without public confidence and without further sector-specific support and guidance. Even with 1m social distancing in place, many hospitality businesses will still not be viable and the scientific evidence is not clear.
The government needs to issue its guidelines for hospitality so that we can start work. It has been too slow to listen to advice and consult on what they should contain. These guidelines should show where businesses, large and small, can obtain support including health and safety advice, licensing issues and rent payments. We are very aware that with furlough schemes being wound down from July we are at a time critical moment for our staff.
Hospitality wants to open, but they want to open safely with the needs of customers and staff in mind. Hospitality is being woefully let down by a government that will not give them the support and clarity that we need.