New restrictions could lead to ‘substantial job losses’

22 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith

Image above: the Prime Minister gives his statement to The House of Commons on the new coronavirus restrictions

The CEO of Fuller’s, Simon Emeny, says the restrictions on the hospitality industry announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday 22 September may lead to further job losses in an already struggling sector.

Bars, pubs and restaurants will now have to close at 10.00pm and weddings will be limited to a maximum of 15 people. Face masks will be also be compulsory for retail staff and fines for breaking the rules are set to increase.

In his statement to the House of Commons Boris Johnson said the latest restrictions could be in place for up to six months. The Prime Minister said the country was at “a perilous turning point”.

Hospitality bosses in Chiswick are disappointed to say the least, with the CEO of Fullers saying he is worried that the new restrictions will lead to “substantial job losses”.

Churches are hoping to adapt to the 15 person limit, with one of Chiswick’s vicars recommending several smaller wedding celebrations over a period of weeks.

Images above: CEO of Fuller’s Simon Emeny; The Pilot in Wellesley Rd, a Fuller’s owned pub 

‘Unnecessary restrictions’

Simon Emeny said:

“Pubs are the home of responsible socialising – we have worked hard, with the Government, to put protocols and processes in place to keep our teams and our customers safe.”

“Our pubs are socially distanced, our cleaning regimes are superb and we have invested in digital methods to accurately collect data to help with Track and Trace. Our reward for this investment and cooperation is further unnecessary restrictions.

“Today, the Prime Minister has succeeded in taking people out of the regulated pub environment and encouraging them back to unregulated socialising at home. This will not help to contain the virus – instead the largest outcome will be substantial job losses, mainly among young people, across the hospitality sector.

“These measures, combined with the return of the work from home message that will further reduce our customer numbers, puts businesses across our sector at risk. We urgently need extensions to the furlough scheme, the VAT reduction and the business rates holiday if we are to have any semblance of a hospitality sector in the future.”

Image above: Larry Pryce, LIve Music To Go; Larry with Bridget Osborne (editor of The Chiswick Calendar) at Jazz at George IV

‘Another blow’

Larry Price is the Director of Live Music To Go, which runs jazz shows out of the George IV pub, in partnership with The Chiswick Calendar.

He thinks live music venues might struggle to adjust to the changes and guests will be put off by the new early closing times.

“Well I mean, it’s another blow isn’t it? I don’t really see what the ten o’clock thing is going to do. Unless they’re worried about rowdiness and unsocial distancing at the last couple of hours or whatever.

“It’s not going to affect us too much anyway at George IV, because we start at 7.30 with a short break in the middle, two 45 minute sets and we finish at 9:30 so that’s enough time to get people out.”

Larry admits though, not every live music venue starts that early, it’s common for many to start at 8.00pm or 8.30pm.

“They’re really going to be stymied, unless they put their programme back by an hour.”

“My only worry for us really, is that because these are new restrictions, it might put a few more people off coming out. But I think it depends where the venues are, in the West End I think it will put people off because the West End is the West End and people are used to drinking late.”

Images above: Rev Martine Oborne, St Michael’s Church

Four weddings?

Rev Martine Oborne is the Vicar at St Michael’s Church, Elmwood Rd. She isn’t particularly worried about the 15 person limit on weddings and she hadn’t received any cancellations at the time of writing.

She was already discussing ways to get around the limited amount of people allowed at weddings even before the Prime Minister’s statement to the commons today.

Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, she said:

“I’ve just been talking to someone who’s planning a wedding for next year, and we’re thinking about maybe having the wedding as more like a season of celebration. We were thinking about having, not three weddings, but one wedding with the family then perhaps three or maybe even four ‘little parties’ with their friends and family.

“Obviously there will only be one ceremony where they take their vows and maybe that’s the one for their closest family and friends. But if they then want to celebrate with a different group, then they will have to have a little series of parties and that’s what I’m recommending – they’re my constructive thoughts anyway.

“You know actually, in ancient times, a wedding used to last a week in the bible! People are gonna have to be a bit inventive on what they actually do.”

Some couples might be put off at the idea of only having 15 people at their wedding but Rev Oborne doesn’t think this will be an issue.

“It depends whether you’re getting married for the party or for whether you want to make that commitment to each other. I think with most people, if not all people, it’s really about making that commitment to each other isn’t it?”

Images above: Rev Martine Oborne, St Michael’s Church

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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