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A five-point action plan to increase compliance across hospitality sites in Leeds has been developed in partnership between independent premises, national operators including Greene King, Stonegate, and Leeds City Council.

The sector is one of the cornerstones of Leed's economy, representing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. There are approximately 24,500 in accommodation and food services alone.

Hospitality businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID outbreak, working tirelessly to keep customers and staff safe while making sure they can continue to operate viably and stay afloat.

The hospitality sector will be crucial to the city’s economic recovery, and the government’s current restrictions are preventing this. If these restrictions are to continue, or tighten further, these businesses will struggle to survive and jobs will be lost.

The five-point plan aims to support the hospitality sector and help businesses to survive and prosper, while helping to make sure that everyone can enjoy their local city.

The proposals include adherence to all current measures and more – these can be delivered by all:

• Mandatory face coverings for all staff and for customers when not seated at tables in line with the law. This reduces the risk of the spread of the infection.
• All customers to sanitise hands on entry to premises. Failure to do so will lead to entry being refused. Venues will also create a coronavirus NHS QR code and encourage visitors to use the NHS COVID-19 app to check-in on arrival.
• This will help stop the spread of the virus.
• All employees to have a COVID health check before the start of each shift and where customers are eating or drinking inside to have their temperature checked before entering. This reduces the risk of people who have COVID entering premises.
• Table service is mandatory at all premises. This will prevent customers walking around premises, reducing the chance of spreading COVID.
• To continue to lobby for “last orders” at 11pm or midnight, if current licence allows, with premises closing one hour later. This is essential to stop all customers leaving at the same time, relieving pressure on the transport network and avoiding crowding. It would also reduce the likelihood of house parties. We believe the 10pm curfew does not deliver the objectives the government seeks to reduce the spread of the virus.

Martin Wolstencroft, CEO of bar group Arc Inspirations, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with hospitality sector and Leeds City Council to help drive down the rate of infection and help the sector get back on its feet as fast we can.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said, “We have been working closely with local businesses in our hospitality sector throughout the pandemic, supporting them however we can to continue to operate as viable businesses.

'The hospitality sector is crucial to our city’s economic recovery and by working together on the proposed five-point action plan, we can help to drive down the rate of infection across the city. In addition, we will continue our efforts to lobby for a change to the 10pm curfew.”

(source: Arc Inspirations)