Responding to the Treasury data, which shows no correlation between the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and a rise in Covid cases, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Eat Out To Help Out scheme was a welcome and timely boost to the hospitality sector but is now a deep and distant memory as hospitality gather dust under the latest restrictions and enforced closures. The sector should be commended for its role in rebuilding customer confidence by providing safe, controlled environments, and simultaneously powering the national economy.
“The Treasury’s statement and data rightly pulls the rug from under claims that Eat Out To Help Out caused a rise in Covid infections. Hospitality businesses invested significant time, effort and money to deliver safe venues and this is reflected in public sentiment: restaurants, bars and cafes came last in the list of public places in which consumers found it difficult to socially distance, according to YouGov polling in November.
“The safe and successful reopening of the sector in 2020, bolstered by Eat Out To Help, must not be forgotten. Hospitality safely welcomed around 60 million customers a week from July to mid-September, and during that period less than 1% of hospitality staff tested positive and only 3% of cases could be attributed to hospitality setting.”