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Cafes and bars could see 3.2m jobs axed because of latest lockdown… as museums fight for survival

Hospitality chiefs issued a dire warning about the future of many businesses last night after doctors advised that the reopening of pubs and restaurants should be pushed back to May.

Industry leaders said that just one in five restaurants, pubs and bars had enough cash to get through beyond March.

It came after Sage scientists who advise the Government warned that the sector would have to stay closed until at least May to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told Radio 4’s The World At One that if the reopening of the sector was delayed until May, 3.2million could lose their jobs.

Industry leaders said that just one in five restaurants, pubs and bars had enough cash to get through beyond March

‘Just one in five hospitality businesses are confident that they will have enough cash to get through beyond March,’ she said. ‘There is no way that businesses will be able to survive until May with no revenues coming in for seven months.

‘It’s a cash burn of half a billion pounds to keep the sector closed each and every month. If we are forced to wait for a longer period then unfortunately there will be little left of the hospitality sector and the 3.2million people who work in it to reopen at that point in May.’

She said she hoped that with the vaccination programme under way, there would be a ‘pathway’ to the lifting of restrictions.

‘Otherwise I think you’ve got a danger that you have an impact on people’s mental health and well-being and also their economic health and wellbeing,’ she said.

If the sector is closed until May, she warned, there will need to be a ‘significant additional injection of cash support from the Government because the support at the moment is just not sufficient to sustain and maintain businesses and jobs’.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told Radio 4's The World At One that if the reopening of the sector was delayed until May, 3.2million could lose their jobs. Pictured: Empty tables outside bars and restaurants in Covent Garden in London on January 4

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told Radio 4’s The World At One that if the reopening of the sector was delayed until May, 3.2million could lose their jobs. Pictured: Empty tables outside bars and restaurants in Covent Garden in London on January 4

Doctors warned restaurants would not be able to open until May because it would push up the R rate.

Dr Marc Baguelin of Imperial College London, who sits on the Sage committee, said: ‘We looked at partial reopening and the increase of the R number and found that it will generate an increase, the extent of which we don’t really know.

‘And if this was to happen earlier than May, it will generate a bump which is really bad … at best you will carry on having a very unsustainable level of pressure on the NHS.’

Lockdown is ‘body blow to museums’  

Museums and galleries are ‘fighting for survival’ following the latest lockdown, a national charity has warned.

Others could follow in the footsteps of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, which has announced it is closing for the ‘foreseeable future’.

Art Fund, the national charity for art, predicted that small institutions will suffer most. Larger institutions such as the National Gallery are less vulnerable.

Museums and galleries are 'fighting for survival' following the latest lockdown, a national charity has warned. Larger institutions such as the National Gallery (pictured) are less vulnerable

Museums and galleries are ‘fighting for survival’ following the latest lockdown, a national charity has warned. Larger institutions such as the National Gallery (pictured) are less vulnerable

‘The latest lockdown is a body blow and is leaving our museums and galleries fighting for survival,’ said its director Jenny Waldman.

‘Smaller museums in particular, which are so vital to their communities, simply do not have the reserves to see them through this winter. Six in ten museums, galleries and historic houses were worried about their survival.’

The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead is one of those under threat, Art Fund said.

Museums and galleries could follow in the footsteps of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, which has announced it is closing for the 'foreseeable future'

Museums and galleries could follow in the footsteps of the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, which has announced it is closing for the ‘foreseeable future’ 

The Florence Nightingale Museum’s director David Green said: ‘The pandemic has left us on our knees. The sad irony is that Florence Nightingale’s teachings are being used to this day to help save lives in the pandemic.’

Art Fund is urging Britons to donate to its Together For Museums crowdfunding campaign. Artists, whose works can sell for millions of pounds, can be bought from £15, with the aim to raise £1million. 

They include pieces by Howard Hodgkin, Jeremy Deller, Cornelia Parker, Sir Anish Kapoor and Michael Landy.

Sir Anish said: ‘Museums are where we go to witness our psychic history and understand ourselves. Today they face great difficulty.’

Art Fund has announced £750,000 of new grants to help 23 museums, taking its total to £2.25million. But it has received applications of more than £16million.


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