The Government’s advice for people to stay away from pubs, clubs and restaurants has been greeted with dismay from the hospitality industry.
Many have expressed anger that the Prime Minister advised people to stay away from venues while not forcing premises to close, which could have given them financial protection for interruption to their business.
There are now calls that the Government offers some financial assurances to businesses.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, which represents the industry, said: “The Government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The very existence of some pubs is now at threat. The Government must urgently step in and provide a package of support for our sector.”
Cash flow is the immediate problem and Louise Treseder, landlady of the Driftwood Spars in St Agnes, echoed calls for Government assistance.
“We are struggling our way through this,” she said. “I have a moral responsibility to my staff, but I have no customers and therefore no income, then I cannot pay them or my suppliers. They are the ones who will be hit the worst, who will pay for their rent or mortgage and pay they utility bills?
“I am hoping the Government will help us to help them. It’s all so upsetting.”
Chef Ben Tunnicliffe, who runs the Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn and Ben at Sennen in Sennen Cove, said it was “Surreal, like watching a disaster movie”.
“Unprecedented times,” he said. “We all face uncertainty. We are all in this together and we’ll get through this but who can say what the final cost will be?
“Stay safe and well everybody, let’s look out for each other as much as possible.”
Chef Emily Scott said the St Tudy Inn will stay open until told otherwise, but that a restaurant without customers is not viable.
“It is a very difficult time in hospitality and a clearer view from the Government would be better,” she said. “Advising people to avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and restaurants is incredibly tough. The statement has left the Hospitality Industry totally vulnerable. You (the Government) have told our guests to avoid coming but without your support. We are all anxiously waiting please give us the support like other countries have been provided.”
Charles Wharton, who runs wine wholesaler, Ellis Wharton Wines, added: “The next few weeks, possibly even the next two months are going to be a bit grim, but we are here and have lots of stock, and whilst we still can we are very willing and able to get wine, gin, etc. to anyone who is in need.
“Once we come out the other side I am hoping that Cornwall will be very busy as I suspect very few people will be wanting to get on a plane for a while, so staycations will be the holiday of choice this year (and possibly even for the next few years). All we need now is lots of sunshine and some proper help from the government to get us through this next stage!”