‘1% hospitality staff test Covid positive’ in Eat Out Help Out 2020
The Treasury’s statement and data rightly pulls the rug from under claims that Eat Out To Help Out caused a rise in Covid infections – UKHospitality
The Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme last year led to just 1% of hospitality staff testing positive for Covid of which only 3% was attributable to a hospitality setting, leading hospitality trade association has said.
UKHospitality responded to the recently published Treasury data which suggested that there was no correlation between the nationwide discount scheme and a rise in Covid cases.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said: “The Treasury’s statement and data rightly pulls the rug from under claims that Eat Out To Help Out caused a rise in Covid infections. Hospitality businesses invested significant time, effort and money to deliver safe venues and this is reflected in public sentiment: restaurants, bars and cafes came last in the list of public places in which consumers found it difficult to socially distance, according to YouGov polling in November.”
Nicholls added: “Hospitality safely welcomed around 60 million customers a week from July to mid-September, and during that period less than 1% of hospitality staff tested positive and only 3% of cases could be attributed to hospitality setting.”
Her statement comes after numbers published by the UKHospitality and CGA Quarterly Tracker revealed a staggering 54% drop in sales in 2020, with sales from October to December 2020 worth just £14.3bn – down by 57% on the last quarter of 2019.
“The Eat Out To Help Out scheme was a welcome and timely boost to the hospitality sector but is now a deep and distant memory as hospitality gather dust under the latest restrictions and enforced closures. The safe and successful reopening of the sector in 2020, bolstered by Eat Out To Help, must not be forgotten.” Nicholls said.
According to recent CGA research, some 6,000 licensed premises in Britain permanently closed in 2020, and with severe restrictions likely to remain in place for months, aid is urgently needed to prevent thousands more business failures.