On the face of it, the case for lobbying the Government to reduce social distancing from two to one meter to save hospitality jobs and accommodate the numbers of diners needed to operate an eatery profitably is a no-brainer, but will it gain favour with the clientele?
As many hospitality industry leaders and consultants have rightly said, one of the biggest challenges facing the profession is how to regain the trust and confidence of the customers. Personally speaking, the majority of people I’ve asked said they would be extremely nervous of visiting a restaurant or pub where social distancing was only one-metre. Both my wife and I would agree.
Yes, the World Health Organisation has recommended social distancing be ‘at least’ one metre. Those words ‘at least’ show that such a distance is a highly risky option. Given everything we know on how this deadly virus spreads, and people’s ability to forget social distancing when in such close proximity as one metre, Coronavirus could prove the winner over saving thousands of hospitality jobs.
As an industry, can we really afford a second and potentially even more devastating second wave of this virus, causing a second lock-down? Or should we take the risk and re-open with one-metre social distancing to save thousands of jobs, while potentially risking lives and deterring many people from eating out?
I am glad I am not the one having to make the decision!