Sacha Lord has today joined hospitality leaders in requesting that the industry be included in a formal government enquiry assessing the impact of Covid measures on the sector.
Manchester’s Night Tsar has joined other hospitality veterans in calling for a probe into the ‘wide-reaching damage’ caused, following the government’s release of the draft terms for its Covid-19 inquiry last week.
Joined by Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond and Michael Kill, chief executive officer of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Mr. Lord has criticised the inquiry as not going far enough.
All three claim that the current draft does not investigate thoroughly enough the impact that a variety of pandemic restrictions had on bars and restaurants across the country, particularly those in higher tiers, like Manchester, who were told they could not serve alcohol unless it appeared alongside a ‘substantial meal’.
Now, they are putting pressure on the government to do more – asking for it to look specifically at hospitality-related policies like enforced table service, ‘substantial’ meal requirements, 10pm curfew and Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The trio is also calling for an “urgent interim report” to assess the impact shutting down large swathes of hospitality had on business during the height of the pandemic, in order to address immediate industry concerns.
They said: “If complete closure of the industry becomes the expected response, the sector will become un-investable.
“The importance of the timing of such a report is crucial.
“If the Inquiry waits until the end of its process before producing a report, further waves of Covid may have hit, and it may already be too late for the sector to recover.”
“To fail to address any of the industry-specific measures will mean that the collective impact of the rules which were being imposed in succession of each other and contemporaneously will not be properly represented or considered by the Inquiry,”
Feature image – Sacha Lord / The Bay Horse Tavern