A survey showed consumers are keen to return to pubs and restaurants.
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The tighter tiered system coming into force this week will stop 98% of England’s hospitality sector from doing business as usual at a cost of up to £7.8 billion, new research suggests.
Jobs site Caterer.com estimated that pent-up demand for meals and drinks could have delivered as much as £15.9 billion to the UK economy when the current lockdown ends on Wednesday.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults indicated that after four weeks at home, the public is eager to return to hospitality venues.
One in four respondents said they were planning to spend more than usual at hospitality venues, suggesting that a potential £5.1 billion could be spent on meals and a further £5.1 billion on drinks, if venues were allowed to trade fully, said the report.
While the return of customers would have delivered a much-needed festive boost for the struggling industry, much of the sector now faces crisis amid a tighter tiered system and tougher restrictions, said Caterer.com.
Spokesman Neil Pattison said: “It’s clear that the public are incredibly keen to get back to enjoying hospitality venues, but this analysis reveals just how damaging the new Government restrictions will be for our sector.
“The impact of the tighter tiered system – which will force businesses in Tier 3 to remain closed unless they offer takeaway, and only allow those that serve food to operate in Tier 2 – will not only lead to a multi-billion pound loss for the sector, but could force many thousands of our talented workforce to look elsewhere for work.
“We must see increased financial support from the Government immediately, and greater flexibility in restrictions that will allow businesses to continue to trade.”