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Changes to the hospitality and leisure sector after COVID-19

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality and leisure businesses were the first to close during the coronavirus lockdown. According to Boris Johnson’s recent announcement (10 May 2020), they will also be the last to reopen open once it ends.

Most employers will be looking for ways for people to stay distant from each other, even after the pandemic is over. However, many businesses across the globe are already introducing these measures to try and reopen. British restaurants and hotels will have to follow suit if they want to open their doors anytime soon.

What methods can be used to create a safe environment for visitors and your employees?

Takeaway – for now, the government will only allow restaurants to reopen during the lockdown with takeaway and delivery options. In order to do this, you must invest in drivers, as you will face a high demand for delivery, and you should be set up to take online or phone orders. If you are a takeaway, or are going to be offering a takeaway service, you will need to deep clean your kitchen regularly and ensure you have social distancing measures in place. Where necessary, ensure all your cooks and other staff have appropriate PPE.

Be creative
– In Amsterdam, the Mediamatic restaurant is trialling the use of individual greenhouses for each two-seater table. Couples can sit by the water outside and be served by staff in visors and gloves – they serve each table with a long plank of wood to avoid contact. So far, it’s only open to family and friends, but it hopes to open to the public soon, with permission from the Dutch government.

This is an interesting idea, because you don’t feel trapped in a glass box, you’re outside in a private area – it doesn’t spoil the ambiance and keeps diners and staff safe.

Utilise tech
– Technological advancements – such as robots – have already been implemented in some hotels, restaurants and other places around the world. The increased use of other technology, including apps to order and collect, are also being used heavily.

Exemplary hygiene
– hotels and restaurants need to be spotless and germ-free in order to reopen, so a deep-clean is a must. With infection highly likely to be passed through touching surfaces, everyone should be on high alert. Seeing your staff wearing PPE, and requiring others to wear it, seems like the best way to make everyone feel safe. To underline how critical this is, Booking.com has said it will delist any accommodation provider that doesn’t meet its COVID-19 cleanliness checklist.

Health precautions
– some countries that have reopened, such as South Korea, are only letting people into their businesses if they pass certain criteria. They must wear a mask, they must not have a high temperature – this would be checked at the door – and they must use hand sanitiser upon entry.
This is something companies should look to implement in the UK. Businesses should come up with practical and innovative ways to reopen safely when the time comes.

What will happen if UK businesses don’t reopen when the government says they can?

Currently, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is supporting thousands of hospitality and leisure businesses and professionals who are unable to work due to nationwide closures.

Theoretically, those who stay closed will be unable to claim furlough pay for their workers if the government announces that businesses can reopen. The government is continuing with the current CJRS conditions until August, after which businesses may be asked to contribute. This may happen despite the sector’s call for additional support for furloughed staff. Most businesses will have no choice but to implement social distancing measures, whatever the outcome.

Some restauranteurs in London are refusing to reopen with social distancing measures, over fears of damaging the reputation of restaurants as places to enjoy, and instead becoming associated with danger. However, staying closed will not help the economy, or the sector, when the government deems it safe to reopen with precautionary measures. Businesses that can’t afford to stay closed without government support would face permanent closure if they choose ambiance over business.

Overall, as the economy is expected to be at an all-time low, it will take time for every industry to recover, especially this one. It’s important to take all necessary precaution before reopening, to ensure everyone enjoys their experience, without worrying about coronavirus.

​Are you looking for a new role or a talented worker to support your business after the pandemic, or to prepare for your business reopening? Contact any REED office via phone or email and we can help.

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