Coronavirus: Ways the UK drinks and hospitality industries are coping

With the outbreak of Covid-19 hitting the food and drink industry hard, we’ve rounded up some of the innovative ways in which companies are dealing with the situation.

The background

As the coronavirus situation rapidly escalated in recent weeks, restaurants, pubs and bars – and the companies that supply these venues – were left in the lurch.

At the start of this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised UK citizens to stay away from social venues like restaurants, pubs, bars, theatres and music venues.

He said the government had the power to enforce the closure of such establishments, but did not deem it necessary at this stage.

To support the industry during this challenging time, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the business rates holiday announced in last week’s budget to cover all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. He also said that said that for those businesses that have insurance policies which cover pandemics, that “the government action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy”.

In addition, the government sent out a press release yesterday stating that it will set out measures to enable pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways in order to serve people having to remain at home.

Planning rules will be relaxed temporarily in order for these changes to be made as soon as possible. Planning permission is usually required for businesses to make such alterations.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and support people, businesses and communities through this difficult time.

“These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting some of the great local businesses across this country.

“The government has confirmed the relaxations to planning rules will be put in place as soon as possible to provide reassurance to businesses and enable them to start providing takeaways to people quickly.”

The changes will apply to hot food and non-alcoholic drinks – alcoholic drinks will still be subject to existing laws. Businesses must tell their local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.

While many restaurants have shut in the past week, some are thinking outside the box in an effort to mitigate losses caused by the coronavirus. Scroll through to see how drinks companies and restaurants are coping.

Have you seen an innovative approach to dealing with the coronavirus that you think may help others? Please comment below. 

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