Long road to recovery for sector and economy, says hospitality boss

By John Corser | Birmingham | Business | Published:

The reopening of pubs and restaurants is just the start of a long road to recovery for the sector, a senior figure said today.

Revellers out in Birmingham at the weekend. Pic: SnapperSK

Lawrence Barton, owner of a string of bars and nightclubs in Central Birmingham, including The Loft and The Village Inn, was encouraged by both the level of trade and the behaviour of people in conforming to social distancing guidelines on the first day of reopening.

“Despite the tough trading conditions hospitality venues like mine are having to face as a result of coronavirus, I was deeply encouraged by the level of trade received given the strict, but necessary social distancing requirements.

“In spite of restrictions on customer numbers, volume of music, social distancing and a strict no bar service, one of our venues had takings that were in line with those of an average Saturday pre-lockdown. Meanwhile, despite takings at The Village Inn being 55 per cent down on pre-lockdown levels, these were in line with our forecasts.

“Reports in the media and elsewhere of widespread flouting of public health rules and requirements were not reflected here in Birmingham.

"I was enormously encouraged by the responsible behaviour demonstrated on the part of patrons in adhering to social distancing requirements and the pragmatic approach police adopted in ensuring adherence.

“I am confident that yesterday marks the start of a long road to recovery for both the sector and our economy as a whole.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Saturday night was very encouraging for the region’s hospitality sector, and I want to thank the vast majority of people who followed guidelines.”

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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