County leader urges clarity on hospitality sector reopening

MORE clarity on how the hospitality sector can operate when it is safe to reopen is needed by the Government, Staffordshire County Council’s leader has said.

Following a meeting on Friday with industry leaders and MPs in Staffordshire – including those from Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park – county council leader Philip Atkins said clear guidance was needed on the date on which they can open so the leisure and tourism sector can put in place the plans they have already made to operate efficiently and effectively. This will boost confidence in a sector which generates £1.85 billion each year locally.

He said businesses need to have sufficient time to prepare for how they can reopen and run from the expected start date of July 4. The sector employs 33,000 people across the county and plays an essential part in the local economy.

Coun Atkins added: "We know the Government is working hard to get our economy back on its feet at the same time as ensuring people’s health is protected in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With most sectors of our economy now operating in some form, our hospitality sector, which employs tens of thousands of Staffordshire people, needs clarity on the date they can open with a reduction of the social distancing rule with adequate precautions as a matter of urgency.

"This is something that we know is being considered by the Government as part of the ongoing review ahead of reopening early next month.

"Employees will need sufficient time to train and adapt to new working guidelines. A reduction in social distancing will certainly make businesses more viable and improve both business and customer confidence.

We have some of the nation’s top visitor attractions in Staffordshire and we want people to be able to enjoy them again safely as soon as possible.”



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