Hospitality industry members expect mass unemployment without more support.
Hundreds of leaders and members from the hospitality industry gathered on Parliament Square to protest the latest restrictions, urging the government to review its policies.
Peaceful protestors were dressed in uniform to represent their respective trades and equipped themselves with pots, pans, cocktail shakers. Yottam Ottolenghi, Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens and Jillian MacLean also joined the demonstration.
“We’ve been dealt some heavy blows over the past six months and we are looking at a bleak future if the Government does not revise its policies relating to the hospitality industry. Without enhanced financial support and additional government contributions to the Job Support Scheme we are going to see many businesses fall by the wayside,” HospoDemo founder Rachel Harty said.
“In 2020 the sector is expecting a £73 billion drop in revenue and with 1.3 billion employees still on the furlough scheme as of the beginning of this month we’re looking at mass unemployment without more support.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan expressed his support for the peaceful protest, saying ministers have an “obligation to give businesses the support they need to survive while restrictions remain in place.”
“The huge failures in the test and trace system have meant that further COVID restrictions are now necessary, but our bars, restaurants and other venues must now get the extra financial support they need urgently to stay afloat,” he said in a statement.
“The 80 per cent furlough scheme was a lifeline for many businesses at the start of the pandemic, and it is this level of support London’s hospitality sector now needs to prevent further widespread unemployment and ensure this world-leading sector can return to business when the virus is under control.”
In a separate statement, he called for the current 10pm curfew policy to be scrapped.
“Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get," he said.
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