Call for urgent support to protect pubs, hotels and restaurants

Councillors are calling for urgent support for the hospitality sector following new safety restricti

Councillors are calling for urgent support for the hospitality sector following new safety restrictions. - Credit: Archant

Councillors in North Somerset are calling for an urgent support package to help the hospitality industry following the introduction of more public health restrictions.

North Somerset Liberal Democrats fear many businesses are on a ‘cliff edge’ following a loss of income due to the pandemic and a challenging winter ahead.

Councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for business and the economy and Councillor Mike Bell, the authority’s deputy leader and executive member for public health, have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for urgent support.

Cllr Canniford said: “A considerable amount of work has gone into supporting the reopening of North Somerset’s hospitality sector and footfall had recovered well – and better than many big cities.

“The council was pleased to support the payment of more than £40million in grants to support our business community earlier in the year.

“However, with the added complexities of evolving Government restrictions, the hospitality industry will continue to be impacted and will need to keep adapting.

“With no way of making up the income lost and with the prospect of schemes such as furlough ending, many hospitality businesses are facing a cliff edge.

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“We’re calling on the Government to introduce a support and recovery package tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry to protect jobs and give the long-term confidence businesses need to survive the coming challenging months.”

Following new measures brought in by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (Tuesday), pubs, restaurants and bars must now close at 10pm and they will be restricted to table service only.

Face masks must be worn by bar staff, shop workers and waiters and the number of wedding guests has been reduced from 30 to 15.

Councillor Mike Bell added: “The hospitality sector has been particularly hard hit by coronavirus prevention measures.

“While we have seen residents and visitors return to the district, North Somerset’s hotel and restaurant businesses, dependent on indoor spaces and social interaction, are operating with limited capacity.

“The vast majority have worked hard to make their spaces Covid-safe and to protect customers.

“Whilst public health should always remain our top priority, we must not underestimate the impact that this health crisis continues to have on businesses, who remain faced with ever-increasing uncertainty as Government support schemes come to end just as further restrictions are put back in place.

“Enhanced restriction measures must be accompanied by comprehensive Government support to minimise the damage to business and save the livelihoods of people in North Somerset and across the country.”