The hospitality industry is on its knees, but we can’t let it fail Business

The point I wanted to make was this. Restaurants and pubs reopened on July 4 after 106 days of mandatory closure and a Herculean effort to become Covid-secure. This involved better hygiene, social distancing, new rules and guidelines to be followed by staff, and tightened regulations by local authorities.

In August, Eat Out to Help Out brought more people to our sites Monday through Wednesday, traditionally the quieter days of the week. We served millions of additional clients, but cases remained low.

In September (a time when people started coming home from vacation abroad, going back to work, school or university), cases started to climb. Many people have jumped to the conclusion that hospitality is to blame. Since then, other restrictions have been imposed. These include the rule of six, the national curfew, local restrictions and the stricter national restrictions in Scotland from Friday.

Where is the evidence that links cases to hospitality? This is certainly not found in data from Public Health England, which shows that only 3% in 5 of acute respiratory incidents or Covid-19 clusters can be linked to hospitality.

It is also not found in back-tracing data from the NHS Test and Trace, which shows that only around 6% of close contacts were in ‘leisure’ (of which hospitality is a subset). Even though the most common event experienced by people who tested positive was eating out (14.6%), this does not mean that hospitality is the cause or that by removing hospitality you will reduce l ‘infection. It just means that the people who contract the coronavirus are likely the ones who are socializing.

Some politicians, journalists and members of the public would like to believe that we can control if and when people socialize. In reality, people socialize whether you like it or not. Many do it within guidelines / laws, quite a few (including students, English footballers and top politicians) are not. We should focus on the places where people socialize.

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This notice was published: 2020-10-08 12:51:36