How you can help the hospitality industry by getting behind the #NationalTimeOut initiative

A significant number of restaurant and bar owners have signed a petition urging the government to grant the hospitality industry a much needed nine month rent free period to help them get back on their feet after they were forced to close by the coronavirus pandemic. 

After the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, announced that restaurants, pubs and bars are likely to be among the last businesses allowed to re-open, and that social distancing will be maintained for the rest of this calendar year, the hospitality industry will need a range of measures to help it survive. Many restaurants work on small profit margins as it is and if tables have to be removed for the safety of customers, many smaller businesses might not be able to make ends meet.

Please remember where you met your loved one, where you laughed, where you sang, danced, ate, and drank

Leaders of the Hospitality Union have launched a #NationalTimeOut initiative to express the collective distress at the impending situation. The union represents more than 3000 hospitality business owners, working together to save pubs, clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and millions of jobs.

20181205 Banyan Spinningfields Venue 27 800X600
Banyan is one of the venues supporting a rent free period

Whilst the initiatives already established by HM Government are needed and welcomed by the hospitality industry in general, they do not provide all the support that is so desperately required for the sector to survive. Members of the Manchester Hospitality Network, which hosts events and industry talks for local hospitality workers, have written a letter to all their members urging them to get behind the initiative. It says, 'should the mandatory and understandable closure of our businesses continue for much longer as now seems likely it is questionable whether the effort to establish the current measures was even worthwhile.'

The letter has been jointly signed by the restaurant owners of many of the North’s most popular venues including Red’s True Barbecue, Impossible, Bundobust, Tattu, Roxy Leisure and Arc Inspirations who are behind venues such as Manahatta and Banyan. It echoes the Hospitality Union’s proposal for a breathing space from rental payments, stating, 'we understand that our landlords have covenants which they must satisfy, as indeed their lenders require to balance their books. Government intervention is required here… without it everything could collapse like a house of cards.'

20180117 Tattu Ground Floor Dining Tattu
Tattu - restaurants may have to rearrange their interiors and reduce the number of diners

They also point out that their members are made up of limited companies, partnerships and family firms 'nurtured sometimes over decades or generations with love…in the quest to build our dreams,' pointing out that 'even those of us who had infectious disease insurance are having their claims stone walled by insurers.' 

They are asking people to support the #NationalTimeOut petition at grass roots level so that lenders can support landlords who can in turn support operators. 'To those reading this in a public forum via traditional or social media, please remember where you met your loved one, where you laughed, where you sang, danced, ate, and drank,' say representatives of Manchester Hospitality Network. 'We built our dreams so they could be the backdrop of your golden memories. Please help us to be there for your future memory building.' 

How you can help

If you would like to support the Hospitality Union’s proposal for the government to introduce a rent free period for restaurants who can not currently trade due to the coronavirus pandemic, contact your MP and sign this petition.

Read: From curry caffs to Michelin stars - The Manchester dishes we miss the most