Parliament Square protest to be held by sector

Parliament Square protest to be held by sector

People working in hospitality will conduct a peaceful, socially distanced protest at Parliament Square today (19 October), urging the government to reconsider its restrictions on the industry and lack of sector-specific support.

HospoDemo will take place today at 10.30am, and will see protestors dressed in uniform, equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons and other hospitality-related props, with which to make themselves heard.

Attendees expected include Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens and Jillian MacLean; everyone has been advised to adhere to social distancing measures and to arrive wearing a face covering.

“The blows that have been dealt to the UK hospitality industry over the last six months have caused a great deal of frustration and hardship,” says HospoDemo’s organiser Rachel Harty.

“Hospitality outlets have responded by investing heavily in safety measures to enable staff to return to work, and to encourage customers back through the door.

“However, the recent 10pm curfew and increasing local lockdowns have created an existential threat to a large proportion of hospitality businesses.

“The sector has already lost 25,000 premises since March, and it’s time for strong government action to prevent the loss of more businesses and jobs and protect a sector that is part of the fabric of this country.”

“It’s no surprise to us that our colleagues from the beleaguered hospitality industry wish to express themselves in this way and we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of them,” adds Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality.

“It is time for the government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew on those areas where Covid-19 rates are low and to come forward with credible and far-reaching financial support for hospitality.

“The curfew was imposed without credible evidence and restrictions that limit a company’s ability to endure this crisis must come with support.”

Mayor of London shows support

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has voiced his support for the protesters.

In statement he said: “I support those from across our hospitality sector protesting today deeply anxious about their future.

“The huge failures in the test and trace system have meant that further Covid-19 restrictions are now necessary, but our bars, restaurants and other venues must now get the extra financial support they need urgently to stay afloat.

“The 80% furlough scheme was a lifeline for many businesses at the start of the pandemic, and it is this level of support London’s hospitality sector now needs to prevent further widespread unemployment and ensure this world-leading sector can return to business when the virus is under control.

“Until the government gets a grip on this virus, ministers have an obligation to give businesses the support they need to survive while restrictions remain in place.”