Hospitality industry leaders have stepped up campaigning to ensure that the June 21 relaxation of Covid restrictions in England is implemented, amid rising concerns that an increase in cases could cause a delay.

UK Hospitality said a potential delay could “push many businesses closer to the cliff edge of failure”.

The British Beer & Pub Association has launched a Countdown to Freedom campaign, urging the government to go ahead with the removal of all remaining restrictions on June 21.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “Any delay in the roadmap would have a devastating effect on an already fragile hospitality sector.

“The latest market data shows a quarter of hospitality venues are still shut and those that are open cannot turn a profit because of the current restrictions. A delay would push many businesses closer to the cliff edge of failure, meaning more job losses.”

She said that should a delay occur there needed to be further additional financial support for businesses affected.

The British Beer & Pub Association says over 2,000 pubs remain closed because they are too small to do social distancing or table service.
Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “More and more people are getting the vaccine each day. It’s time for the restrictions on our freedoms to be replaced by the protection of the vaccination and for businesses to get back to trading as normal.”

The latest government figures, released yesterday, show a weekly rise of 28.8% in positive Covid tests in the UK. Deaths remain relatively low compared to the height of the second wave, at 58 for the week, but that is a 45% increase in seven days.

Government data shows that 39.4 million people have had a first vaccination, and 25.6 million have had two.