TALLULAH ALLEN | LEGAL JARGON WRITER
It was recently reported that the UK hospitality sector lost an estimated £30 billion in revenue following lockdown restrictions being partially lifted. Resorts, restaurants, bars and pubs in Britain have only recently been permitted to open their doors once again, operating at a significantly lower capacity; hopes of a V-shaped economic recovery are minimal. However, despite the backlash received by the government, new quarantine restrictions imposed on travellers returning from Spain are likely to benefit the hospitality sector. Boris Johnson has discouraged non-essential travel to Spain and Emma Beaumont of The Telegraph has rightly identified this period as ‘the summer of the staycation,’ as Brits are opting to discard their European travel plans and instead holiday at home.
What are the financial and legal implications of the government’s decision to reimpose quarantine restrictions?
Following this controversial decision taken by the government, many accommodation providers have already had to adapt to an exponential increase in reservations, with holiday lettings companies experiencing an unprecedented level of growth. The Telegraph reports that Kip Hideaways announced a 400 per cent increase in booking queries, and that Classic Cottages has observed a similarly remarkable increase of 165 per cent. Restrictions are unlikely to encourage those coming from abroad to visit, and the tourism industry will likely continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic. However, the rise in Britons selecting a ‘staycation’ will doubtlessly contribute to keeping the hospitality sector afloat; an area that has arguably been one of the worst affected by COVID-19. This desire to holiday as normal, along with the uncertainty surrounding a trip abroad, will at the very least have an immediate positive effect on an industry which usually accounts for 19% of the total national income (according to the British Hospitality Association).
Employment law has come into focus in light of the government’s new policy, as travellers forced to quarantine upon returning from Spain face an imposed 14-day self-isolation. In turn, those unable to work from home are left in limbo with regards to remuneration. The government have remained unclear in their stance; despite insisting that there should be no penalty for quarantining, their official advice maintains that employees should not benefit from statutory sick pay if they must self-isolate. As a result, the Labour Party has suggested that many workers will be obligated to return to work early, endangering the effectiveness of the restrictions as a whole. In order to avoid ambiguity, Anita Rai (head of employment and partner at JMW Solicitors) advises that companies devise and enforce their own policies
regarding the risks and responses now associated with foreign travel, to protect the most vulnerable workers from sudden changes.
Tallulah is currently studying French and Spanish at the University of Cambridge and hopes to train as a solicitor after graduating.
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