Liverpool hospitality sector ‘facing catastrophe’

Senior Liverpool business leaders write to Chancellor Rishi Sunak telling him that without a major intervention, the city’s bars, restaurants and hotels are facing a COVID-19 wipeout. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool’s hospitality sector is fighting for survival due to the COVID-19 crisis


Senior Liverpool business leaders have written to Chancellor Rish Sunak warning many of the city’s bars, restaurants and hotels are facing oblivion due to COVID-19 restrictions.

They are calling for an immediate and substantial Government intervention and claim if it is not forthcoming then Liverpool’s hospitality sector is heading for a “catastrophe” with a significant number of closures and job losses.

The sector has already lost more than £1bn in revenues since the start of the epidemic in March. There were signs of recovery in August with people returning to bars and restaurants but September has see a surge in new cases of the virus and now a 10pm curfew has been imposed on bars and restaurants.

Further restrictions may be imminent and may include a ban people socialising in hospitality venues with anybody outside of their own household. The letter said this could be a “critical” blow to the sector.

The letter has been signed by the chief executives of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce (Paul Cherpeau), Downtown in Business (Frank McKenna), and Liverpool BID Company (Bill Addy). It has also been signed by leading restaurateur and representative of the Liverpool Hospitality Association, Paul Askew.

On Wednesday afternoon, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the leaders of the six local authorities, all signed a joint statement agreeing extra measures will be needed to get control of the latest COVID-19 spike. And they called for an urgent economic intervention from the Government.

This was echoed by the business quartet shortly afterwards. In their letter to the Chancellor, they wrote: “Liverpool’s hospitality industry is under threat – with further restrictions potentially having a catastrophic impact on the entire sector.

“We welcome intervention of city leaders who have called upon the Government to act. We also need to make people aware that our previously, slowly, recovering visitor economy is in real danger.

“In fact, without an appropriate level of intervention, there will not be a hospitality sector as we know it. There are several businesses that will soon close and others desperately seeking ways of continuing to trade.

“The vast majority of businesses have shown incredible resilience and worked tirelessly to make themselves COVID secure for those visiting and working in them, making sense of what many regarded as confusing, unenforceable restrictions. But a critical blow is about to be dealt to bars, restaurants and hotels.”

Paul Askew
Paul Askew, chef-patron of The Art School Liverpool and a signatory to the letter


They add that the new expected measures to limit social interaction would leave the city in a “virtually full lockdown” and making it impossible for many hospitality businesses to continue trading.

The letter went on: “Decisive and immediate action is required – listen to and support businesses and people on the ground and engage properly with local authorities to provide targeted economic support.

“The restrictions will force the closure of successful restaurants, bars and hotels as well as the huge number of businesses which make up the supply chain. It will decimate the sector and will spill over into the wider business eco-system.

“We encourage the UK government take heed of the representations made by the leaders of our biggest Northern conurbations. An emergency package of support is essential to enable our visitor economy to sustain itself through this next economic shock.”

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