Today, May 17, marks a momentous day for the hospitality sector and for those of us who have missed indoor service as it has finally re-opened. It’s the second step to freedom that we’ve all been waiting for – time to head indoors!
Announced last week by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, the roadmap out of lockdown is going ahead and on schedule.
Evidence suggests that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths for those vaccinated, while infection rates do not risk an unsustainable surge.
As a result, the green light to indoor dining is not only great news for all those involved in hospitality, but an important marker for positive change in COVID-19’s trajectory in the UK.
Though the date was months-before planned, those involved in the hospitality industry – particularly chefs and restaurateurs – have been shocked by the impact of the news.
With a surge in bookings, particularly in London, the sector is looking at bursting back into a dependable and healthy life.
Many venues were already fully booked weeks prior – with enquiries running at around twice pre-pandemic levels. Such levels are understandable – today’s opening marks the first time customers have been able to dine indoors since London was put into Tier 3 restrictions in December, last year.
Still, this demand in the sector is not without difficulties. Many restaurants have reported difficulty in recruiting staff needed to meet the mass bookings. Further, with the likelihood of an additional influx come the final stage of easing lockdown, the sector will have to brace itself and question whether it is prepared.
Words: Seeham Rahman