Some restaurants are calling for a return of Eat Out to Help Out when lockdown ends.
In an open letter to Boris Johnson, signed by 330 restaurant partners and led by Deliveroo’s founding father, Will Shu, restaurant operators are calling for the return of the discount scheme.
Shu also calls for an extension of VAT and business rates relief.
He warned that if further support isn’t forthcoming viable businesses will fail just as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel is becoming clearer’.
Deliveroo’s letter represents more than 1,400 restaurants calling for an extension to the furlough scheme and for food industry workers to be included in the second phase of the vaccine roll-out.
More than 100 million meals were claimed last August as part of the scheme that required the government to make up the difference.
Shu said: “Deliveroo is committed to supporting our amazing restaurant partners through the pandemic.
“Restaurants are at the heart of our high streets and local communities and we want to play our part to help them reopen their doors when the economy opens up again.
“That is why we are calling on the government to implement this package of measures, which will be an important lifeline for small independents and high street family favourites.”
Bosses of Burger King, Pizza Express and Fuller’s are among more than 160 hospitality chiefs who have called on the Chancellor to extend the VAT cut by another year in a separate call to action.
UKHospitality coordinated the letter that proposes the VAT reduction be passed onto alcohol sales, leisure activities and weddings.
The letter said: “Should we be allowed to reopen in the run up to Easter, it could also help us avoid having to pass on substantial price rises to customers in early April as a result of returning to a 20% rate, just prior to the Easter trading weekend.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “We are hopeful that, in the coming weeks and months, we can begin to welcome customers back and we know that people will be eager to socialise with their friends and families safely in our venues.
“That means we need to start laying the groundwork now.
“We need to make sure that the hospitality sector is in the best possible position to help rebuild as we done in the past.”
The talk of returning the scheme has caused a divide among social media users.
One wrote on Twitter: “Eat Out To Help Out was linked to increased deaths and part [sic] of why we locked down before Christmas. What sense is there in trying it again so prematurely?”
In response to the governments ‘Look him in the eyes’ campaign, a second wrote: “Look him in the eyes and say “Eat out to help out”.”
While a third added: “I loved Eat Out To Help Out, we went to restaurants we couldn’t usually afford to go to”.
What do you think?
Blackpool Pleasure Beach officially confirms date for reopening
Not long to go now
The Blackpool Pleasure Beach owners have confirmed the date on which the theme park will reopen.
Posting a video on social media of staff testing the rides, the caption stated that the venue is prepping for customers’ return on April 12th.
A statement on social media said: “In line with Government guidelines, we plan to re-open COVID secure and ‘Good To Go’ on Monday 12th April.
“We look forward to welcoming you back to share in our 125th year.”
Under current government plans to ease restrictions, theme parks along with zoos will be opening in Stage Two, which will happen on April 12th at the earliest.
It comes after the council announced that Blackpool Illuminations will be extended in 2021, with an additional two months of the spectacle.
You can see more info on the opening here, along with all the Covid-19 policies you can expect on your visits such as bookings made in advance and eTickets.
One of UK’s largest care home groups says it won’t hire anyone who isn’t vaccinated
New staff must have received the Covid vaccine
Care UK, one of the UK’s largest care home companies, has put a ‘no jab, no job’ system in place.
It comes after Care UK, which runs 120 homes, has seen more than two-thirds of its staff vaccinated.
A spokesperson said: “Everyone applying for a role which requires them to go into a home will be expected to have been vaccinated before they start work.”
Barchester, which operates 220 private care homes, said it would be insisting on staff having vaccines, warning that ‘if they refuse… on non-medical grounds [they] will, by reason of their own decision, make themselves unavailable for work’.
Employment lawyers have warned that such a move could result in legal challenges for unfair dismissal. However, Barchester stressed it might be possible to find such people work in roles away from frontline care.
Mike Cain, an associate at Leigh Day, said employment tribunals would weigh the care home’s clinical safety obligations to residents against the civil liberties of any employee whose refusal to have the vaccine might not be an impediment to safe working.
Barchester explains they expect all staff to have the vaccine by April 23rd, excluding those who have medical – including pregnancy – grounds for exemption.
So far 82% of its staff have received a first dose. A spokesperson said: “We are very aware of concerns around possible discrimination which is in no way our intention.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure fairness while also delivering on our duty to protect our residents, patients and staff.”
Bupa has said it is considering a policy for staff in hospitals, care homes and dental practices.
The largest not-for-profit home chain, MHA, said it is ‘being explicit with new staff that we want all of our frontline colleagues to take up the vaccine’ but it will not require new starters to prove it.
Unison, which represents care workers, warned that a ‘hardline approach’ risked hindering take-up.
Senior national care officer, Gavin Edwards, said: “Hesitant staff need encouraging and persuading.
“Intimidation and threats won’t deliver the results necessary for life to return to normal.”
17-year-old boy arrested after the George Floyd mural was defaced with racist graffiti
It’s the third time it’s been defaced
A 17-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage to the George Floyd mural in the Northern Quarter.
The tribute to George Floyd in Stevenson Square was painted by artist Akse P19 following the killing of Mr Floyd in May 2020.
The artwork was vandalised with a racist word on Friday morning for the third time since the painting was completed.
The suspect was seen doing the act on CCTV and police are now holding him on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage.
It comes just a matter of weeks after the last vandalising of the artwork.
Mr Floyd was killed by a white police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
His face became an icon of the resurgence of the Black Live Matter campaign across the globe.
Speaking on the last incident of defacing, Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons said: “Racism has no place in Manchester, we will not tolerate it and the Council will repair the memorial working with the artist.
“We’ll be working to review CCTV footage and any leads will be followed to find the culprit.
“Manchester is an inclusive, welcoming city with people from across the globe [and] this does not represent Manchester or Mancunians.
“Whoever did this has achieved nothing.”