The crisis in hospitality will cost the economy £73bn this year, experts warned as battered pubs and restaurants prepare to reopen on Saturday.
A combination of lost tourism, weak consumer spending and operating constraints due to social distancing mean that more than half of the industry’s £133bn annual sales are set to be wiped out in 2020, according to trade body UKHospitality.
The projections, which are based on official data, underscore the scale of the challenge facing pubs, restaurants and other hospitality outlets as they welcome back customers this weekend.
Pubs and restaurants could face months of dire trading with less than a fifth of Britons planning to immediately return when they reopen, according to new polling by RBC Capital Markets.
Consumers ranked eating and drinking out as their highest priority activity after lockdown – but only two in five plan to return before August, and fewer than a fifth will immediately go back.
The bank’s survey also found that more than half of drinkers and diners expected to go out less often than they did before Covid-19 struck, piling up further pressure.
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