By Lisa Riley
Published: 13 October, 2020
The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has reiterated its concerns for businesses that supply the hospitality sector.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday of a three-tier lockdown system, the trade body said it welcomed that hospitality venues forced to close would receive financial support, and confirmation that retail would remain open.
Moreover, the WSTA said it understood the need to “focus efforts where infection risks are the greatest” and welcomed the government’s approach to managing this geographically, at a local or regional level, allowing those outside of affected areas to continue to operate.
However, CEO Miles Beale re-raised concerns that the hospitality supply chain would yet again be overlooked.
“The support measures announced by the Chancellor last week will have given many businesses facing the prospect of being shut down a much needed lifeline, but we have serious concerns that – once again – those who supply the hospitality sector are being overlooked. They need access to the same levels of support.”
Moreover, in relation to yesterday’s announcement, Beale said the latest lockdown restrictions would come as “a bitter blow to pubs and bars who have worked hard – and invested dwindling resources – to ensure their businesses are safe”.
UK Hospitality meanwhile warned of a lack of support for hospitality businesses in Tiers 1 and 2, highlighting that these venues would face severe restrictions, including the 10pm curfew, without proportionate support.
“The impact of all of these restrictions is huge and we are quickly reaching the point of no return for many businesses,” said CEO Kate Nicholls.
“For those businesses in Tier 3 areas, forced to close their doors again, things look bleak but the support announced last week for closed businesses will hopefully give them the breathing room they need to survive another lockdown.
“There is currently a concerning lack of support on offer for hospitality businesses in Tier 2, and to a lesser extent Tier 1, despite their facing restrictions that is seeing trade down by between 40% to 60%. They will have the worst of both worlds, operating under significant restrictions without the financial support on offer to Tier 3 businesses. Without enhanced grant support and enhanced government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many are going to fall by the wayside,” she said.
Nicholls also took the opportunity to call for the government to “at the very least, rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew” in those areas where Covid rates are low.
“It was imposed without credible evidence that hospitality is the source of increases in transmission, while some evidence points the other way.”