New measures announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson to contain the spread of coronavirus mean that hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan sites must close, other than for permanent residents and key workers.
The move came after the government ordered pubs, bars and restaurants to close.
Many hotels had already closed their doors, while others such as Best Western and Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ Manchester hotels the Stock Exchange and Hotel Football offered to stay open for NHS staff.
Despite the fact that takeaway services are allowed to continue, many big brands have chosen to close their services for the time being anyway. They include Greggs, PizzaExpress, KFC, Nando’s and McDonald’s, who said that maintaining social distancing while offering drive-thru and takeaway services had become “increasingly difficult”.
In other developments:
- The government has confirmed that commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Many operators’ quarterly rent bills were due on 25th March.
- Pub landlords face losing their licence if they continue to serve customers anywhere on their premises, including in beer gardens, during the coronavirus lockdown.
- More than 50% of people are using or plan to use a delivery or takeaway service, according to research by CGA, which also found that 32% of the public had an appetite for delivered drinks.
- Hospitality giant Whitbread, which operates Premier Inn hotels as well as brands including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table, has pledged to keep its employees on full pay before a significant number of them are placed on temporary furlough. The government has pledged to pay 80% of workers’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month under the furlough scheme but is still putting the system in place.
- Grab and go brand Eat has announced that it will close in the UK after 24 years in operation. Eat’s 94 sites had already been bought by rival Pret A Manger in May 2019.
- JD Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin came under fire after staff claimed they had been told not to expect future payments until the government’s furlough scheme came on stream. In a video address to staff, Martin advised them to seek work with supermarket chain Tesco, which is hiring, and that they would be given first priority when pubs reopen. Wetherspoon denied that it had “abandoned” its 40,000 staff and said staff would receive their weekly pay on Friday.