Light at the End of the Tunnel For London’s Hospitality Sector
It has been an extraordinarily difficult year for everyone due to the pandemic, particularly businesses in the capital. There have been few sectors hit as hard as hospitality, which nationwide lost a staggering £72 billion in sales in 2020, but there is now light at the end of the tunnel and a new sense of optimism with the new roadmap to normality, the falling cases and the remarkable speed and efficiency of the vaccine rollout.
A Devastating Year
Hospitality in London has been hit incredibly hard due to the pandemic, especially when you consider the uncertainty and constant changes in the rules relating to lockdown, which made it very hard for businesses in these industries to cope. This has led to many businesses unfortunately closing, people losing their job or being placed on furlough and a great deal of stress and anxiety. The good news is that there is now hope and summer could be the start of a revival in the hospitality sector.
Unlocking the Economy
The roadmap presented by PM Boris Johnson has given those in hospitality something to work towards with tentative dates set for the easing of restrictions. This includes major parts of the economy opening up on the 12th of April, including pub gardens, and indoor hospitality to follow on the 17th of May before all restrictions are lifted on June 21st. This could also help to revive business travel in some capacity, with British business travellers being able to book serviced apartments in London.
The recent Budget announcement also brings signs of optimism with hospitality and tourism set to pay lower VAT rates for a year, planned increases on alcohol scrapped and grants for hospitality businesses of up to £18,000. The Chancellor also announced an extension of the furlough scheme to the end of September, giving businesses a chance to get up and running again before bringing staff back onboard.
The Return of Furloughed Staff
Following on from this, the return of furloughed staff will also give hostility businesses a lift and should help them to manage with the anticipated higher demand. It has been a long, hard year and people are desperate to enjoy hospitality in London, so it could be a busy summer and hopefully help those in the industry to start the path to recovery.
Hospitality has been devastated in the last year, but there are now signs of optimism and businesses in this sector will be counting down the days until they can get started once again and the summer is now looking much brighter for all.