Tiers before Christmas?

The new Covid-19 tiers have been announced across the country with only Cornwall and the Isle of Wight in the lowest tier 1; London, North Yorkshire and parts of the South East and East in tier 2 while the majority are in the most restrictive tier 3.

 

We thought this would be a good time for a quick snapshot of what the changes do for the prospects of various sectors ahead of the critical Christmas season.


New tiers let some businesses dream of a Christmas miracle – for others the nightmare continues

Xmas covid

Hospitality

 

Just when the hospitality sector didn’t think things could get any worse for most of them – it does. 

 

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in tier 3 have to close unless they offer a takeaway or delivery only food service option. 

 

Previously hospitality venues could stay open in tier 3 areas if they also operated as a restaurant but this requirement has been placed upon tier 2 areas. 

 

Even then they are limited to takeaway, delivery or table service only and can only serve alcohol if it accompanies a substantial meal. 

 

All hotels and accommodation destinations in tier 3 have to close regardless of any food offerings. 

 

UKHospitality said this is the biggest threat facing the industry and its revenues. They said: “This is effectively a lockdown for businesses in tier 3 and further purgatory for those facing even tighter restrictions in tier 2. At best it’s a restrictive straitjacket and at worst a lockdown in all but name.”

 

Approximately 98% of their members will be in tiers 2 and 3.

 

“Rather than saving Christmas, these damaging measures will ruin it for hospitality businesses and their customers.”

 

Sacha Lord, Night Time economy advisor for Greater Manchester said: “I’ve heard reports this morning that 94% of pubs in tier 3 areas will go under by Spring, and while this may seem excessive to some, it is no exaggeration.

 

“These places are the lifeblood of communities…to kill these vital social spaces with these hardening measures will be a devastating blow to the very fabric of British culture.

 

“It’s clear that the ever increasing debt from rents, rates and bills will be too much for the majority, especially the independent operators which cannot lean on parent companies. 

 

“Operators across the UK have spent several millions on making their venues covid-secure, following the government’s own guidelines, and these new regulations are a knife to the heart of the sector.” 

 

Tourism and Indoor Entertainment

 

Indoor play centers including soft play and trampoline parks must close in tier 3 areas. As should casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades, escape rooms, cinemas, theatres, snooker halls and indoor concert venues.

 

In tier 1 or 2, they can open but must close at 11pm unless a performance starts before 10pm. Public attendance is permitted but limited to either 50% capacity or 1000 people.

 

Retail

 

The good news for retailers is that all stores can reopen across the UK from December 2nd regardless of what tier their local area is in although existing Covid-19 restrictions will apply.

 

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “While retailers have stepped up their online delivery over the course of 2020, the bulk of Christmas shopping tends to be done in store. 

 

“The government’s decision to keep all of retail open will help to preserve jobs and the economy and keep Christmas a festive occasion for everyone.”

 

Personal Care

 

Hairdressers and barbers can reopen across the various tiers along with nail salons, spas, tanning salons, tattoo parlours, massage parlours and spas although steam rooms and saunas remain closed.

 

Gyms

 

Outdoor exercise classes can continue but “higher-risk contact activity” shouldn’t take place. Neither should organised indoor sport, physical activity or exercise classes. 

 

The tier system is due to stay in place until Spring 2021 with regular bi-weekly reviews of each area allowing some movement between tiers if possible. 

 

The first one is scheduled for December 16th which would allow some pre-Christmas trading to occur but even this window of opportunity might come too late for some businesses. 

 

While the awaited tiers system might have brought some hope for businesses in some areas, it might have sealed the fates of several more if there is no realistic likelihood that they can reopen and resume a regular service or operations before Christmas or even New Year. 

 

Now would be the perfect time to get in touch with us to arrange a free consultation to discuss what decisions you can take now to help your business make it into 2021. 

 

The sooner you make contact, you’ll find that you’ve got more options and room to move than you might have believed. 

 

The die has been cast until at least midway through December – you can spend this time worrying about the future or taking charge of your future and finding out what you can do, right now, to make it a better one after this Covid Christmas.

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