Reaction: Tier 3 means ‘last orders is right here, right now for many’

Jabbar Khan of Lasan Group says the sector may never recover

The news that the entire West Midlands will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions when the national lockdown ends on December 2 has been met with dismay from local business leaders.

Jabbar Khan, Founder of Lasan Group of restaurants, said: “As an independent restauranteur, with four businesses across the city we’re incredibly disappointed in the Government’s announcement to place Birmingham and Solihull in Tier 3, from next week. Calling it Tier 3 does not get away from the fact that this is a continued and full-scale lockdown, especially for the hospitality sector; an industry that is being systematically destroyed.

“Whilst this may be viewed by Government as a two-week measure, the true effects are much harsher. Tier 3 effectively shuts down many of this sector’s great businesses and denies them an ability to trade over a period that is critical for every hospitality business – big and small.

“By cancelling Christmas for the hospitality sector, the Government has effectively wiped out three months of trade and which will result many businesses closing, jobs being lost, and city centres left empty. The sector will never recover from these measures.

“The Government have made a big play about “saving Christmas” for families, but have they forgotten that behind every business and business owner, there is a family whose Christmas has been ruined by today’s announcement?

Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson and the Government must be prepared to stand up, do the right thing and lead this sector-in-crisis with immediate and real financial support that not only protects businesses, but safeguards jobs, too.

“What is abundantly clear is that last orders, for many, is not 9pm, 10pm or otherwise, it’s right here and right now.”

Ron Terry, general manager of Coombe Abbey Hotel, said: “Following on from the news that Warwickshire has been placed in Tier 3, I am deeply saddened to say that Coombe Abbey Hotel will not be re-opening once the second national lockdown comes to an end.

“We will, of course, be following all Government guidelines and monitoring the situation extremely closely over the coming weeks and eagerly waiting to hear what is said when it is reviewed on December 16.

“Once again, a number of events will be impacted because of this awful situation and our staff have already begun the long process of contacting everyone that has been affected by the measures to speak to them about the next steps.

“Our café and kiosk will continue to stay open in Coombe Abbey Park during the Tier 3 lockdown, offering visitors a takeaway option.

“We are of course very sorry and we are doing all that we can, but again I am calling on everyone’s patience during this difficult time.

“We hope everyone is stays safe and healthy during these extraordinarily tough times.”

Louise Bennett, CWCC chief executive

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was another bitter blow for the sector in the region.

She said: “We have said from day one that safety must come first and businesses across the region worked incredibly hard at the end of the first lockdown to make themselves COVID secure.

“We were hopeful that the city and the county would be placed into Tier 2 at the end of this lockdown to give our hospitality and events businesses a chance to operate at this crucial time of year for them.

“Once again, they will bear the brunt of the latest restrictions.

“Of course, other businesses are affected too and it will mean continuing to work from home where people can do so. We do, at least, have clarity around the likes of construction and manufacturing which can continue to operate.

“Businesses are going to need support from Government to get through this period but, as we’ve said for some time, there has to be a plan to get the economy open again.

“A viable vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel but businesses can’t be on hold until that time. We have to use wider testing and a greater evidence-based approach to allow more of our businesses to open up.”