The latest measures laid out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be the “fatal blow” to manufacturers which supply the foodservice and hospitality industries, according to chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Ian Wright.
The new restrictions will see pubs, bars and restaurants forced to shut at 10pm, with Johnson adding that these rules could be in place for up to six months.
A tightening of the ‘rule of six’ was also announced, with venues now only able to take bookings for tables of up to six along with a strict table-service only policy.
“By extending their support through this unprecedented but limited period, these businesses can play a full part in building a jobs-rich recovery beyond the pandemic.”
Responding to the new measures, FDF’s chief executive, Ian Wright CBE, said: “These new restrictions on the UK’s fragile hospitality and foodservice sector are a potentially fatal blow to manufacturers who specialise in supplying the hospitality sector.
“Many pubs and coffee shops will not be able to trade profitably under these new rules and will have to close again, with further threats from enforced closure due to local or national lockdowns. Those businesses and their suppliers also now face losing their furlough lifeline.
“We encourage Government to heed the recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee and consider a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the hospitality sector and its manufacturing supply chain.
“With a vaccine and end to social distancing, these ‘squeezed middle’ businesses will thrive again. By extending their support through this unprecedented but limited period, these businesses can play a full part in building a jobs-rich recovery beyond the pandemic, preventing the unnecessary economic damage of business closures and the scourge of long-term unemployment.”