The hospitality industry has been hit harder than most. The pub has chosen to throw beer; restaurants, if they haven’t really closed the shop, are offer takeaway to help maintain a steady stream of income.
Reduction of footsteps have knock-on effect on the supplier, wholesalers, producers and farmerss, while staff throughout the country have been hit – many will not get their jobs back. Experts predict that most restaurants will not make it to the other side of the restaurant Covid-19 crisis.
There is a good reason why pubs and restaurants are temporarily closed. A Chinese study is looking at how customers in Guangzhou restaurants in January spread the disease to nine other people, all of whom were on their table or neighboring people. A closed environment packed with people is not as safe as it gets.
So when Michael Gove told Andrew Marr last week that restaurants and pubs could be “the last to reopen,” while it was a heavy blow to chefs, restaurant owners, tax collectors, and landowners, many told Telegraph it is “understandable”.
It’s also understandable that they want to open as fast as possible – but when can this happen realistically?
When will the restaurant reopen?
Ask the 10 restaurant owners the questions above and you will get 10 different answers; in short, no one knows for sure. There is no guidance from the Government, said Mike Robinson, owner The Woodsman in Stratford-upon-Avon, even though he doesn’t blame the Government for that. Simply put, it is too early to say.
“What will be a disaster is to leave too early and then have to close again,” Robinson said. Estimates mostly range from July (although one chef has been told by someone close to the Government that the end of May is realistic), in the best case scenario, to “winter” and maybe even until 2021.
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for the UK, said social distance must last at least until the end of this year, while the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said lift lockdown can “reignite” the infection. On April 28, Telegraph reported that the Government was circulating a life plan afterwards kuncitara, with garden center and the rubbish tip, for example, is set to reopen – but there is little news for the restaurant.
Jonathan Downey, founder Street Party, has established the Hospitality Union, which has struggled for financial assistance for the sector, including vacation rentals. Downey believes there has been a “mixed message”. “We were told there might be a time in June, then the end of the summer, so it’s not clear what Michael Gove said.”
What can happen is a gradual reopening, with small places like community pubs, cafes or small restaurants opening before the bigger ones. “Places like Dinerama, with a capacity of 1,000, will not be before October. Even though my fingers were crossed for 10 weeks before Christmas, I might see them early next year. ”
We have seen several fast food places reopen. Last month, Pret, Burger King and KFC all open several branches to take home and delivery, with restrictions on customers, Perspex screens to protect staff, short menus and more stringent hygiene rules. But it was far from the dinner experience that many people wanted. On April 29, McDonald’s said it was conducting a reopening trial, to see how the end of the lockdown would be played.
Stuart Proctor is COO of the Stafford Collection, which runs the Norma restaurant, The Game Bird, Northcote and Stafford Hotel. “We are working towards October as the worst case scenario, the best case is July, I think. But who knows – if you know the lottery number for Saturday, let me know, “he told Telegraph.
Will the pub take longer to reopen?
As for the pub, Frank Maguire from the Truman brewery in London said Sun: “At this rate it seems unlikely that the pub will open again before Christmas. Christmas is almost as big as business for the pub industry. That would be a big loss.”
Mandy McNeill, co-chair of the St Albans Hospitality and Retail Association, echoes the words: “Noisy government has so far suggested slower than faster, although we are optimistic and hope to be faster.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), added: “There is currently no clear indication when the pub will be able to open again. As it stands, the Government’s guidelines are clear and the pub will continue to comply with it.
“The government needs to ensure that further ongoing support is provided for British pubs, and brewers who supply them, so that when the time comes to reopen the sector we are best prepared to do it in a safe and sustainable way.”
As reported in Telegraph Earlier this month, BBPA confirmed that the pub needs to be given three weeks’ notice before they can be reopened. This will give the brewers time to restart operations and give staff leave notice.
On April 29, a government adviser suggested Britons could be limited to two or three drinks when the pub reopened, to ensure passengers did not stay in the pub too long. On the same day, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the pub chain planned to reopen the pub “in or around June”, believing that a larger pub room in general would allow a distance of two meters to be followed.
What will our post-lockdown restaurant be like?
Whether it’s July, August or October, one thing is certain: a post-coronavirus restaurant will not look like a pre-coronavirus restaurant – at least temporarily, and maybe until the vaccine is ready. On April 27th, Guardian reported that an economist advising the Government said pubs, shops and restaurants could be reopened “as long as there is a compulsory physical distance and fines for those who abuse the rules.”
Fewer tables; limit on the number of customers; shorten opening hours; more local products; limited menu; mandatory gloves and masks (when not eating); temperature check on the door; barriers between visitors. All has been debated, and, for better or worse, all and more are possible steps.
Like David Moore from Pied à Terre admits, some steps “feel a little 1984”, and he hopes there will be a number of self-government. “I understand everything about facial masks, even though I hate the idea [of staff wearing them], but if you have no symptoms, and you have a mask, you are likely to spread it. ”
However, for Downey, some of the actions were “nonsense”. “We are out to have fun, not fuel. For fast casual operators, it’s about fuel and not night, they will operate well on the rules of social distance. But if you are a seat to eat, that will not happen. “
Downey added: “the earliest will take one year, and up to 18 months, before everything returns to normal,” before suggesting “we will lose most of our sector.”
All Telegraph talking to the agreed customer number will go down greatly for some time, as is currently reported in China. With millions of people in financially precarious positions – whether on leave or unemployed – there may be little appetite for expensive meals.
In addition, with everyone cooking more because it’s locked, people might find greater love for home cooking. On the other hand, there may be a hidden hunger to visit a beloved restaurant.
What happens in other countries?