Business leaders predict ‘catastrophic consequences’ for visitor economy

Liverpool’s business leaders have written to the Government in a plea to protect the hospitality sector from imminent collapse.

In a heartfelt letter produced by Liverpool’s Chamber of Commerce, BID Company, the Hospitality Association and Downtown in Business – the plight of the industry is explained, saying it’s ‘in real danger’ and support is essential.

Here’s the letter in full:

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.

The expected announcement of a ban on household mixing in any public space – and potential additional measures of societal restrictions – would leave our city in a virtually full lockdown situation leaving many unable to continue trading in the foreseeable future. 

In March, the Job Retention Scheme was a lifeline for many businesses. But the future does not look promising and the discretionary grant programmes will be insufficient to enable the city’s visitor economy and hospitality businesses to trade through the impending period of local restrictions.

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.

Liverpool’s can-do attitude has shone through in recent months – the ground-breaking Liverpool Without Walls initiative saw us all come together for the safe re-opening of venues, footfall was boosted and we saw a glimpse of that city-swagger we’re renowned for. It will be heart-breaking if this was for nothing. 

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 and emerge in a position of relative strength in the post-COVID period.

Quite simply, for our visitor economy, it is now or never.

An Open Letter to National and Local Government on behalf of Liverpool’s Chamber of Commerce, BID Company, Hospitality Association and Downtown in Business