By David Cousins, Accounting Director, Armstrong Watson LLP

THIS weekend will see the re-opening of a number of hospitality and tourism businesses in England, but this comes with a long list of conditions which need to be met.

The two metre social distancing rule being relaxed to ‘one metre plus’ was met with a huge sigh of relief by the industry as in many cases it is the difference between having a revised viable business model and millions of furloughed staff not having a job to go back to.

The sector was hit hard early on in the pandemic and has had to wait longer than most to get to a place where it can re-start. The government’s various forms of support measures have provided a vital lifeline for the industry, but there is still a fear that some businesses will fail before they have had the chance to bounce back due to the pressure of social distancing measures and the crisis impact on consumer spending. Continued support from the Government into next year will be essential to save many jobs in a sector; the third-largest employer in the country.

Unfortunately those with close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will have to wait longer and remain closed for now. Taskforces are being established to help them become COVID secure.

The impact of the crisis on consumer confidence is an extremely important consideration for all businesses. In order to help hospitality businesses restore confidence some new certification marks have launched. Visit Britain is launching a free to join ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and the AA is launching a ‘Covid Confident’ mark.

To obtain the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark businesses must complete a self-assessment online including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online. Alongside the industry standard, Visit Britain has launched a ‘Know Before You Go’ public information campaign to support tourism in England as businesses start to re-open by empowering consumers to inform themselves before booking a trip.

There is no doubt it will be a steep learning curve for businesses and a very different experience in some cases for customers. Giving your contact details, sitting behind Perspex screens, social distancing police in the beer garden and one-in one-out queues at the loo may hit harder than we expect. However, the sector has shown great resilience to weather the storm so far and we expect it to come out fighting again on 4th July.

For help and advice regarding your hospitality business please get in touch with David Cousins on 0758 429 4578 or email