Legalities and Business Impact of COVID-19
Legalities and Business Impact of COVID-19
As a company that operates within the Hospitality and Restaurant Industries, and one which has a considerable following, Virtual Solutions as a company feel it’s important for us to address the current global situation that is coronavirus.
The purpose of this post (and any subsequent updates we upload) is to inform those in the industry as to the facts about the virus. This particular page will be paying attention to any legal implications that could arise from the coronavirus pandemic as well as what we feel may impact your business in any important sense.
While nobody at Virtual Solutions claims to have any medical experience or qualifications in this arena, we will be drawing from official sources. Anything we post here must and will be a demonstrable fact, sourced from legitimate and trustworthy channels.
As this virus is now dominating the media, we feel it’s now important to acknowledge it in a sensible and cautious way. Then as a community, we can track the scope and impact of coronavirus and share up-to-date information on how best to avoid it, treat it and halt any further spread.
We want to share this information from the perspective of a hotel (what does this mean for you) and aim to provide hoteliers with the best advice we can. As well as any changes or developments as this global situation unfolds. We fully expect coronavirus to have an impact on our industry, as it will on so many others, but we hope to seek out and disseminate information that lessens this impact.
We will also update this article and bank of data as more relevant details and updates emerge.
Government warns UK to avoid pubs and public spaces
In a controversial press conference that took place on the 16th March 2020 regarding coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised the public to avoid pubs, restaurants and other public places in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
While the government believes this will be an effective way to stop people catching and spreading coronavirus it could be potentially damaging to the hospitality industry. Restaurants, pubs and hotels rely on footfall and reservations to make a profit. If this stops abruptly then it could have major ramifications for those of us who work in the industry.
The government has promised a £12 billion relief package to support the industry. But has advised this money will be provided when the virus “is contained”. While this would indeed ease the pressure on businesses when given, a promise of help at a later date does little to reassure businesses that are struggling today.
COVID-19 is an illness that can present like flu but also affects the lungs and airways. The illness originated in China but has spread to other countries since it’s discovery. While the illness should not be taken lightly by anyone due to it being potentially fatal, the majority of fatalities have consisted of those who are elderly or have had pre-existing medical conditions. Especially conditions that affect the respiratory system. That being said the virus is highly contagious, but treatable.
The symptoms of coronavirus include:
- Persistent cough
- High temperature (running a fever)
- Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
- General flu-like symptoms
Showing any of these symptoms do not necessarily mean an individual (i.e. guest or member of staff) has the coronavirus. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that share traits with flu or even the common cold. But should all symptoms be shown together then medical advice should be sought.
The above information has been sourced from the NHS website and can be viewed here.
Next Steps – Anticipating the Future
Will the Public Flock Back to Restaurants?
Naturally, the public will be looking forward to hotels and restaurants reopening when the world gets back to normal. Not only will people be keen to make up for lost time, but some experts believe them doing so will be crucial to getting the economy kick-started. The hospitality industry will need (and more than likely receive) this metaphorical shot in the arm when the time comes, but will it happen the way many initially believed it would?
Of course, nobody is advocating the public should necessarily go running to restaurants and hotels as soon as they can. Some regions may be safer than others and caution will be essential to making sure the virus remains in remission so that a second spike doesn’t occur.
Using China as a Template
When Wuhan attempted to get back to normal, the first time they were free of COVID-19, this, unfortunately, did lead to further outbreaks. Perhaps they attempted this too soon, or perhaps some social distancing measures should have been used for a while longer.
The region is now coronavirus free once again, but this time the people of Wuhan are being much more cautious.
Restaurants are open but empty, and the fear of the virus is still strong. Other countries will also learn from this and will be keen to not make the same mistake. Some businesses in China are actually frustrated that they are open, as doing so is costing them more money than being closed would.
Predicting What Will Happen in the UK
The UK sadly now has the highest death toll from COVID-19 in all of Europe and this will impact people’s habits. While the Government is planning to steadily ease social distancing measures over time, it’s becoming apparent that there won’t be a ‘mad rush’ as many people once predicted.
Confidence will need to build gradually, and it may take a year or longer for what we consider normality to return. Once it does though, this may be when the hospitality industry sees it’s predicted surge of support, but that could be a long time away. Perhaps once a vaccine has been mas-produced.
Although support from the public may come in other ways. Customers may still be cautious about getting back to normal, and still show some restraint by only going out on rare occasions, but they may spend more money when they do. While customers may not dine out as often as they once did, they may take advantage of the opportunity when they do and take advantage of the occasion.
While it’s difficult to fully predict what may happen, the above does give us some insight into how customers will respond and what that could mean for our industry. We’re confident better times are coming but getting there may well be gradual.
We will continue to bring you updates regarding the legalities of the COVID-19 pandemic and anything we feel may impact your business as new information appears. Therefore, we’d encourage you to check back periodically to keep up to date.
Stay safe, Virtual Solutions