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Restaurant and bar industry staff set to protest over current restrictions

They’re bringing pots and pans to Parliament Square

Written by
Alexandra Sims

Chefs, waiters, baristas, and people from all across the hospitality industry will gather in Parliament Square next week armed with pots and pans for a noisy, yet peaceful, protest urging the government to rescue the hospitality industry. 

The sector has been one of the hardest hit this year, with closures and continually changing Covid restrictions to contend with. The recent 10pm curfew has been called a ‘death sentence’ by London bar owners. While, new Tier 2 restrictions, banning indoor mixing between households in London from midnight on Friday, have left many venues with the prospect of far fewer customers and no Government aid to support them.

Trade association UKHospitality has warned that, unless more support is available for businesses in Tier 2, the sector faces widespread job losses within weeks. Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘Being moved into Tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier 3. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.’ 

In the face of changing restrictions and little support, hospitality marketing professional Rachel Harty has created HospoDemo – a protest calling for the government to take a more balanced approach when imposing restrictions on operators and to provide adequate support for businesses feeling the impact. 

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The HospoDemo protest will begin at 10.30am on Monday October 19 in Parliament Square. Top chefs and restaurant owners Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens and Jillian Maclean are expected to join the group, which will bang pots and pans with spoons and jiggle cocktail shakers full of stones to ‘make a big racket and get [their] voices heard’.

Protestors have been asked to wear their work uniforms where possible, as well as wear a mask, and to respect social distancing. 

‘The latest Covid-19 restrictions relating to hospitality venues are having a profound effect on business,’ says HospoDemo’s website. ‘If they continue, [they] will lead to the demise of thousands of restaurants, bars, clubs and other related businesses, leaving a large proportion of UK hospitality’s 3 million-plus workforce out of a job.’ 

The HospoDemo will take place at 10.30am on Monday October 19. Find more details on the Facebook event, here

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