Covid-19 and the Impact on Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Sector 

Thank you to over 200 UK business owners, who spared a few minutes to complete our recent hospitality survey.  The majority of participants were restaurant, café, hotel and accommodation owners and providers who shared their views on the current issues faced by the hospitality sector and also the impact of government support on their businesses.

What support is available for your business?

Please find below a summary of the latest sector support measures announced to date (updated 3rd March 2021) with links to further information. 

  • Coronavirus Job retention Scheme introduced for all UK employers to continue paying part of employees’ salaries for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis. Click here for further information.
  • The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September 2021. Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.
  • As the furlough scheme ends a new Job Support Scheme (JSS) is being introduced, starting on 1 November 2020, which will top up an individual’s wages where they are working at least a third of their hours. 
  • The reduction in VAT to 5% has been extended for a further 6 months until September 2021 for businesses in the hospitality sector.  To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months, until 31 March 2022.
  • This applies to food, non-alcoholic drinks, hot takeaway food, hot takeaway drinks, hotel and holiday accommodation, fees for caravan pitches and associated services, campsite pitches and admission to certain attractions. 
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants and any other hospitality or leisure business. If you have a direct debit in place to pay your business rates then consider cancelling it to ensure amounts are not paid in error.
  • A three-month mortgage holiday for those in difficulty because of coronavirus. Approach your mortgage provider directly. 
  • For commercial mortgages and business loans, many lenders will already offer repayment holidays. Contact your business bank manager to see whether this is available to you.
  • You also have the option to defer your Self-Assessment tax. This includes any deferred payment on account bill from July 2020, any outstanding tax owed for 2019 to 2020 and the first payment on account bill for this current tax year in monthly instalments, up to 12 months, via a self-serve tool. Customers who need longer than 12 months to settle their tax liabilities are invited to contact HMRC in the usual way.
  • HMRC have scaled up their Time To Pay arrangements. All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities can ask to spread amounts due over a period of time. These will be assessed on a case by case basis. Telephone the helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses can reclaim up to 2 weeks of SSP paid to employees who are absent due to Coronavirus – the Government has provided an online service to make claims for repayments which you can see here.
  • Planning rules were relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to provide take away hot food and drinks services. If you intend to take advantage of this then you should inform your local planning authority of the change in services.
  • Your obligations for refunding deposits to future guests will depend upon your terms and conditions or those of the online agent through which the booking was made. If the terms and conditions state the deposit is not refundable then you can retain these funds. However, you may wish to issue vouchers for a future date to encourage a visit from these potential guests. You can also encourage others who are entitled to refunds to accept vouchers in the same manner. 
  • Review your workforce, employment contracts and consider your options – you should talk to your solicitor to ensure you don’t fall foul of your contractual obligations or Employment Law.
  • Check your insurance policies – although insurance cover will vary significantly, some policies protect businesses from loss of earnings arising from pandemics or Government closure. 
  • Click here for further information.

Latest Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism News

Read our recent Spring Budget 2021 - Welcome relief for the hospitality sector article.

For the latest updates including any legislation changes affecting businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector, please visit our Hospitality news section.


The Summer Statement and your Business

The Chancellor announced a number of measures to help boost the economy as we transition out of COVID-19.

Much of the focus was around job retention, apprenticeships and supporting the hospitality sector and the impact these new measures may have upon your business. Our panel of Armstrong Watson experts discussed the measures in place,  alongside hospitality guest Martin Wolstencroft, CEO of ARC Inspirations and Andy Dodds, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Carlisle College.  

COVID-19 & The Hospitality & Tourism Sector - Surviving the Crisis

Hospitality and Tourism has been hit hard by COVID-19 and on-going social distancing measures will see this impact continue for much time to come.

Our Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism Sector Partners, Richard Andrew (Accountancy), Graham Poles (Tax) alongside host CEO Paul Dickson, were joined by sector stalwarts Martin Wolstencroft, CEO of ARC Inspirations (who own and manage some of Leeds and Manchester’s best known bars), James Tasker, Director of the Lake District Hospitality Association & Proprietor of The Lamplighter Dining Rooms and Dan Visser, Vice Chairman of Cumbria Tourism to discuss issues affecting the sector.


Press play to watch our short animation summarising the full results gathered from the survey.

Download your copy of the survey results

For more information and to download your copy of the survey results, please click here.

Contact Us

Understandably you are very concerned about how this pandemic will affect your hospitality, leisure and tourism business day-to-day and the impact of this long term. Please remember as your trusted adviser, we're with you with any immediate planning or questions you might have.

If you'd like to speak with one of our advisers, please call 0808 144 5575 or email, or contact Richard Andrew below.

Richard Andrew, Head of Accounting

Richard Andrew

Head of Accounting