HOSPA responds to latest government advice

In light of yesterday’s Government update, which asked the public to avoid social settings, much has been made of the impact on the hospitality industry.

Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association, reflects on the current situation:

 “We’re in unprecedented territory with coronavirus and we appreciate that the Government is doing its best to keep abreast of an ever-changing situation.

However, the latest advice is ambiguous, leaving many hospitality businesses in limbo. Do we re-stock and re-order in anticipation of some trade? With the risk that this expense then goes to waste? Or do we simply take the hit and close completely?

 Other factors are staff related. There’s a duty of care both emotionally and financially. Staying open possibly allows us to pay staff for longer, but also exposes them to risk. What’s the right balance to strike?

It really is a no-win situation. And while a full lockdown is an enforced closure, something that’s more likely to be covered by insurance – that’s by no means certain given the exceptional, unforeseen circumstances.

At present though, we’re not at the point where forced closures are currently deemed necessary.

Full lockdown will no doubt come; be that in the next few days, or the next few weeks. But that will come at a time when the Government deems the NHS is at maximum capacity, at which point it’s essential we fully comply.

Whilst this is an extremely tough time for hospitality businesses, we simply need to follow Government guidelines for as long as possible – however, vague or frustrating they may seem.

This is a crisis that’s affecting the full spectrum of society and we must all do our utmost to get through it as best we can.

At HOSPA, we’re available in an advisory capacity. It’s an ever-evolving landscape, and we’ll hear more as the day(s) go on as we speak to our members, so do please get in touch and we’ll both listen to your concerns, share the experience and thoughts of other properties where appropriate, and articulate those to a wider audience if needs be.”