The hospitality and events industries have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Adam Clarke, UK Country Manager for RoomRaccoon, explains how ‘Lockdown 2.0’ will affect hotels and B&Bs in the UK.
The first national lockdown from March until late June wiped out the bookings of hotels and B&Bs across the country. And there has been little time for these businesses to recover with a second national lockdown beginning on November 5.
While businesses in the food and drink industry benefitted from the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme throughout August, the country’s hotels and B&Bs had to rely on the rise in staycations due to foreign travel restrictions.
Though the autumn and winter months are typically quieter for the hospitality industry, hotels are likely to be especially empty over the coming months – save a few approved visitors.
Can we stay open?
The government’s most recent advice states:
‘Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.’
In short – hotels can stay open, but only for those travelling for ‘work or education purposes’. However, in reality this means that most hotels and B&Bs, with little or no demand for rooms under such circumstances, will be forced to close temporarily.
What measures do we need to put in place?
If a place of accommodation does decide to stay open to serve key workers staying for work purposes, they will need to adhere to the same safety obligations they were permitted to open under in the summer, including:
- Temperature checks upon arrival
- Taking contact details for contact tracing upon arrival
- Wearing masks in communal areas
- Social distancing in communal areas
- Providing regular hand sanitising opportunities
- Closing bars and restaurants within premises
What support is available if we close?
The furlough scheme which saw the government pay 80% of the wages of employees unable to work during lockdown has been extended until March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
This will help to protect jobs within the hospitality industry – but what about paying your business’ bills?
All four Government-backed coronavirus loan programmes will be open until January 31, having been set to close for applications at the end of November. This includes bounce back loans (BBLS), coronavirus business interruption loans (CBILS) and the CLBILS scheme for larger firms as well as the Future Fund aimed at UK startups.
Business premises forced to close as a result of the lockdown will receive grants worth up to £3,000 a month which they can claim from local authorities who will also be given additional funds to support businesses in their regions.