'Hospitality is the heartbeat of towns and needs help' says Wakefield's chamber of commerce after four-week delay to unlocking

The four week delay to unlocking means the hospitality sector needs financial help more than ever, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has said.
A four-week delay has been confirmedA four-week delay has been confirmed
A four-week delay has been confirmed

And the organisation’s managing director Martin Hathaway said it was disappointing the sector was once again only given a week’s notice when things were set to change.

He said the pandemic, coupled with the effects of the Brexit transition on the availability of foreign workers, means the hospitality sector faces challenging period as demand and expectation to “bounce back” rises.

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He said: “The hospitality industry is now beginning to reopen, and expectations of a quick bounce back are rife.

Mr Hathaway said: “The sector is responsible for millions of jobs, generating hundreds of billions of pounds, and plays a key role in the Yorkshire economy and that of the wider nation.

"More must be done to assist in its recovery, and to create accessible, desirable jobs within the sector that ensure the longevity of our hospitality businesses.

“The announcement of delays to the Government’s roadmap is disappointing, especially for those industries that have remained closed throughout.

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“Firms have fought incredibly hard to keep their businesses alive during this difficult period and many will be disheartened by this latest announcement.

“The majority of businesses impacted by this latest decision have had to remain closed for many months now.

“Those in the hospitality and entertainment industries - the economic heartbeat of many Yorkshire towns and cities - will have to once more prepare to adjust their recovery plans and strategy for maintaining employment.

“The Government must ensure these firms are able to continue to access appropriate financial support and delay the tapering of furlough repayments, which is planned for the start of July.

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“Failure to continue supporting these businesses financially means that we may face the sad reality of firms being forced to permanently close their doors.

“While this is a setback, we must commend the work being done to roll out vaccines across the nation.

“We hope that speedy progress will allow us to get back on track as soon as possible.”

Davide Garbarino, managing director of recruitment consultancy HoReCa, said: “Lockdown has driven people back to their own countries to wait out the pandemic and therefore, they have missed out on job opportunities.

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“For example, there has been a boom of pizzerias opening during lockdown, but many experienced pizza chefs who went back to Italy will now find it extremely difficult to return.”

The chamber represents businesses in Wakefield Kirklees and Calderdale.