Hospitality workers have protested outside Westminster this morning against the successive blows restrictions have dealt the industry in recent months and call for further support for businesses and employees.
Business owners, team members and supporters from across the industry gathered on London’s Parliament Square, using pots, pans, ladles and other tools of their trade to make noise and grab the attention of politicians.
‘HospoDemo’ has been organised by marketing professional Rachel Harty. Peaceful protestors included Jason Atherton and Tom Aikens.
Tom, who owns a number of restaurants worldwide, including Muse in Belgravia, London, said today on his Instagram account:
“As an industry, we’ve fulfilled a long list of demands from the government to make our businesses COVID secure. Latest Public Health England stats show that hospitality venues account for less than 3% of transmission rates, yet we are being penalised with even more restrictions, which frankly make most businesses unviable moving forward.
“Now is the time for us to say no more @borisjohnsonuk we have had enough of being your guinea pigs in testing apparent scientifically proven policies & restrictions. You are killing our industry, which is a total injustice or everyone that is giving more blood sweat & tears than you ever have. So why don’t you all in parliament listen to us and hear our frustrations & anger at the added burden of more silly unwanted & unreasonable restrictions. As next time you go out for dinner think twice about where you are going to go !!! As I don’t think you will get a very warm reception ….. We are angry 😤”
All attendees were advised to adhere to social distancing measures and to wear a face covering.
Organiser Rachel said: “The blows that have been dealt to the UK hospitality industry over the last six months have caused a great deal of frustration and hardship. Hospitality outlets have responded by investing heavily in safety measures to enable staff to return to work, and to encourage customers back through the door.
“However, the recent 10pm curfew and increasing local lockdowns have created an existential threat to a large proportion of hospitality businesses. The sector has already lost 25,000 premises since March, and it’s time for strong government action to prevent the loss of more businesses and jobs and protect a sector that is part of the fabric of this country.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, said: “It’s no surprise to us that our colleagues from the beleaguered hospitality industry wish to express themselves in this way and we stand shoulder to shoulder in support.
“Businesses are feeling the cumulative impact of all the restrictions placed on them, and have really suffered since the introduction of the curfew, which has had a severe and devastating impact. Now with the introduction of the tiers system, we are reaching the point of no return for many. Many are trading unsustainably and at a fraction of their pre-Covid levels.
“Without enhanced financial support that really recognises this situation, and without additional government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many businesses and jobs are going to fall by the wayside. It is time for the government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew on those areas where Covid rates are low and to come forward with credible and far-reaching financial support for hospitality. The curfew was imposed without credible evidence and restrictions that limit a company’s ability to endure this crisis must come with support.”