Re-opening of attractions a ‘first step to save the industry’, says Shakespeare’s England CEO

The chief executive of Shakespeare’s England has praised the Government’s re-opening of attractions, restaurants and hospitality businesses, calling it a “first step to save the industry”.

Helen Peters says the announcement that selected hospitality and tourism businesses can open their doors on July 4 could be a last-minute lifeline for many companies.

Shakespeare’s England represents one of the UK’s tourist hotspots but one that has been hardest hit by coronavirus with Stratford-on-Avon expected to experience the fourth largest GVA decline of any area in the country.

Peters said: “This decision by the government to reopen museums, galleries, attractions, cinemas, pubs and restaurants is a crucial first step in saving one of the most vulnerable industries from the devastating impact of the pandemic and has probably come just in the nick of time for companies that were facing oblivion.

“However, it does need to be noted that there is a world of difference between the government announcing they are ‘allowed’ to open and many physically being able to do so, especially by 4 July.

“There have been months of unanswered questions regarding social distancing and the two-metre distance, and how it will impact on the financial viability of businesses when they are able to reopen, and this uncertainty has made it harder for tourism businesses to plan their reopening.

“The confirmation that this will be reduced to one metre will be welcomed news for certain hospitality businesses that can now viably reopen, while still maintaining social distancing regulations.

“The new announcement today from the government provides welcome information for these businesses to now start assessing how they can viably reopen, while still maintaining the safety of customers and staff.

“It is also reassuring to hear that theatres will receive extra guidance and support on when they can safely reopen as soon as they can.

“The health and safety of staff and visitors should still be the top priority for these businesses – ensuring that social distancing regulations and procedures are in place before opening should be on the top of the agenda.

“South Warwickshire and Stratford-upon-Avon in particular is a tourism hotspot, but as we start to re-open, our message is the same as that of many other popular UK visitor locations, encouraging people to first discover their doorstep to stay local and support the attractions and businesses in their area.”