750,000 hospitality jobs could be lost by February

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A staggering 750,000 jobs could be lost in the hospitality sector by February, industry experts last night warned.

New restrictions on socialising, particularly in larger cities, could see thousands of pubs and restaurants put out of business.

UK Hospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the British Beer & Pub Association said that ‘without urgent sector-specific support for our industry, massive business failure is imminent’.

London was moved into the ‘high risk’ Tier 2 of Covid restrictions at 00.01am yesterday, along with Essex, York and parts of Cumbria, Derbyshire and Surrey. 

A staggering 750,000 jobs could be lost in the hospitality sector by February, industry experts last night warned. Pictured: An empty pub in Nottingham

The North East, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, West Yorkshire, Birmingham and Leicester are already under the restrictions, which ban households mixing indoors.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls warned a quarter of a million jobs could be lost in London alone, adding that Tier 2 is ‘the worst of both worlds for business’.

She added: ‘Being moved into Tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no-man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in Tier 3.’

She has written to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to argue that hospitality businesses should be excluded from paying for part of the new Job Support Scheme, which replaces the furlough scheme from November.

New restrictions on socialising, particularly in larger cities, could see thousands of pubs and restaurants put out of business. Pictured: A closed pub in Soho, London

‘If it does not, we are looking at catastrophic business closures and widespread job losses in the capital as early as November,’ she said.

However, the tightening of restrictions in the capital was given a cautious welcome by the lobbying group London First. 

Chief executive Jasmine Whitbread said: ‘If tough action now means we can save lives and avoid a more severe lockdown later, then businesses in the capital will hope that these short-term measures will prevent worse to come.’

In Liverpool city and Lancashire, now Tier 3, pubs and bars not serving meals have had to close.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes across Northern Ireland have also had to close their doors to sit-in customers.

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