Expert Insight

NEWS from

Kate Nicholls UKHospitality Chief Executive

As 2020 drew to a close, the dismal year was ushered out accompanied by hopeful platitudes: “next year will be better” and “it can’t get any worse than this.” We are barely into January and already the optimism of a new year has evaporated as England and Scotland have been shunted back into lockdowns. Cautious optimism has withered in the cold light of a miserable January morning. I am reminded of a mantra possibly misremembered: things will have to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

In which case, it is our job to wrestle ourselves, our colleagues and this sector back from the edge of the yawning chasm of ruin and gloom upon which we stand. We must grasp hold of the fragile moments of hope that present themselves and buoy a hospitality sector on the brink of disaster, but still able to make a significant contribution to the fight against COVID and turn a defeat into a fighting retreat, if not an outright victory.

Hope comes in the shape of the vaccine which is right now being rolled-out across the country and beginning to turn the tide around the world. It might seem incongruous, but the UK’s hospitality sector is in a brilliant position to provide serious support in getting the vaccine out to people rapidly. Ours is a sector uniquely positioned to provide

the facilities that this country can call upon if it wants to undertake a mass vaccination programme.

We have venues sitting empty, ready and waiting in every corner of the UK. These are spacious, well-ventilated, safe and secure buildings in villages, town centres and on high streets from Inverness to St Ives, fed by an extensive refrigerated supply chain network.

This is something we have already made clear to the Government and we sincerely hope they will make the most of our offer and take advantage of the spaces we can make available. It would be a fantastic way to repay the Government’s support and a great way to remind the entire country how integral our businesses are to communities. Rapid roll- out of the vaccine is looking

increasingly like the best shot, if you’ll excuse the choice of words, of getting our way of life back to normal as quickly as possible.

I have been encouraged by the number of UKHospitality members that have already stepped forward to make their premises available and offer their support. If you wish to lend your support, then do not hesitate to contact UKHospitality. The more businesses we have on- side, the quicker, hopefully, we can help roll-out the vaccine, with the added benefit of showing ourselves to be a useful, cooperative and valuable sector.

The new year has not started with the burst of positivity that we had all hoped, but that is no reason to write it off. There are still 11 months remaining in the year in which to turn the tide.


January 2021

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