Coronavirus: UK government recommends avoiding pubs, restaurants and bars
It's going to be a really difficult time for food and drink businesses
The UK government has said everyone must stop “all non-essential social contact” and travel to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
In the first of prime minister Boris Johnson’s daily press conferences on the developing situation, he said, “We need people to start working from home where they possible can, and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues.”
The UK is “moving emphatically away from” mass gatherings of any kind, and it looks like these measures will be in place for months rather than weeks.
People over 70, those with health conditions, and pregnant women should consider the advice "particularly important".
According to the prime minister, London is currently a few weeks ahead in terms of the number of cases. Johnson said, “It’s important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we’re saying about avoiding non-essential contact and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants.”
Uncertainty for the hospitality industry
Of course, this news will be a huge blow to everyone working in the hospitality industry, whether their business is big or small. It's also a very confusing time.
Johnson was asked about what support the government will offer to businesses who will be struggling in light of the latest news.
“This is going to be a very considerable challenge for businesses big and small and we’re going to make sure we do everything we can to give them the liquidity they need, and make sure they have the time to pay. We’ll make sure in our whole fiscal policy, the way we look at our whole tax and spend system, that we give businesses the space in which they can come back from this. I have no doubt at all we’ll be working closely with all our partners around the world to coordinate our response,” he said.
However, no proper support plan has been laid out yet. If Boris Johnson is merely recommending pubs, restaurants and bars close, rather than enforcing it, businesses won't be able to claim for losses. If the situation continues, it is likely there will be many pubs, restaurants and bars forced to close permanently, especially as the entire population has now been told to avoid going out.
Our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland are already one step ahead, with the government calling on pubs and bars to close for two weeks until 29 March.