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Coronavirus Business Shutdown Continues to Hit Restaurant Industry Hardest

Plus more news from the restaurant industry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic


Restaurant and hospitality workers are among those suffering most from coronavirus’ economic impact

The novel coronavirus’ impact on London’s hospitality industry will come in two waves. First, the short, seismic shock of the now, in which the government closes down restaurants and owners are forced to lay off or furlough hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of staff, while food delivery workers and supermarket staff continue to work at great personal risk.

Second, in months, not weeks, as businesses adjust to whatever version of normalcy COVID-19 inflicts on the U.K., its real impact will be slowly revealed in the number of businesses that actually make it. Right now, they are suffering, and their workers are among those suffering most, according to an Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) assessment reported by the Guardian. It says that “a third of the bottom 10% of earners worked in the worst-hit sectors, against one in 20 (5%) of those in the top 10%.” This disparity is also skewed against women and workers under 25, and focuses on staff in the restaurant, hotel, pub and retail sectors.

While suggesting that “many” would be able to rely on financial support from families, Xiaowei Xu of the IFS said: “For the longer term there must be serious worries about the effect of this crisis on the young especially and on inequality more generally.” [Guardian]

And in other news...

  • As was widely predicted, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that changes will be made to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, a move designed to help businesses access cash through the banks quicker. Operational hold-ups and increased demand continue to threaten the efficiency and usefulness of the scheme. Business leaders also continue to emphasise that debt is not the long-term route out of the crisis.
  • In the short-term, restaurant owners continue to stress that two of the most important measures relate to their rental arrangements: one — an extension of the so-called forfeiture moratorium, extending the period in which landlords are unable to evict tenants, and two — and enforcement moratorium, preventing landlords from using bailiffs and penalising tenants for defaulting on their rent payments.
  • Luxury London hotel opens rooms and supplies meals for NHS workers in London
    Claridge’s, the 5-star iconic London hotel in Mayfair, has announced that it is hosting 40 key workers from St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. The workers checked in on Friday; the hotel’s parent company, Maybourne Hotel Group, said it will open its other properties — The Berkeley and The Connaught — when necessary. Claridge’s restaurant kitchens are also providing daily packed meals to be sent to over 500 NHS workers and community support teams across London via Meal Force.
  • Carluccio’s Foundation pledges £500,000 to COVID-19 initiatives
    The Antonio Carluccio Foundation, which supports charities in “battling hunger and malnutrition”, and training of disadvantaged people in the hospitality sector, has pledged to make grants of up to £500,000 in donations to emergency feeding and other initiatives in the hospitality sector in the U.K. and Italy this year.