A report puts Ilkley in the top 10 most affected by Covid-19, as the town has more people working in pubs or restaurants than anywhere else in England and Wales.
Centre for Towns, a think tank dedicated to our towns, large and small, says in the report that new measures on top of those already announced will be needed to avoid the initial shock of the lockdown from 'turning into permanent damage'.
The report said the main four sectors affected by the Covid-19 shutdown were accommodation, non-food retail, pubs and restaurants and arts & leisure.
Ilkley has 28.5% of the workforce employed in pubs and restaurants, the highest for any town in England and Wales. When the four main sections are combined, Ilkley has 44.7% of employees in shutdown sectors, which puts the town in the top 10 affected.
Early this week as Professor Chris Whitty warned that social distancing measures could last beyond 2020, UKHospitality (UKH) wrote to Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove MP, recommending a six-point plan to help the country’s hospitality businesses reopen following the crisis and save jobs and businesses.
UKH Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “With social distancing measures still in place, reopening the hospitality sector without a plan would be catastrophic.'
‘The hospitality sector was one of the first hit by the crisis and the hardest hit in terms of lost revenue. It will also be one of the last to fully emerge from the lockdown.’
‘An extended period of social distancing will mean that many hospitality businesses will not be able to operate fully, and many will not be able to open at all. Hospitality is a sector built around socialising, so there must to be Government support for businesses that continue to be hit by this crisis.’
‘We need a plan of phased opening for our sector. For those businesses that can trade safely with social distancing measures still in place, they should be able to. For the many venues where it is not possible, support, such as the furlough scheme, must be extended to make sure these businesses stay alive and jobs kept open. We can’t have a situation where, overnight, the entire sector is suddenly expected to hit the ground running.’
‘If the correct support is not in made available to help businesses get back to work when the time is right, then businesses will have survived the immediate crisis only to find themselves out of business during the aftermath.’