Leeds Bar and Restaurant owners have expressed their support for the #NationalTimeOut initiative with a petition.
"Please remember where you met your loved one, where you laughed, where you sang, danced, ate, and drank. We built our dreams so they could be the backdrop of your golden memories. Please help us to be there for your future memory building."
These are the moving words of a collective of Leeds bars and restaurants, such as Red's True Barbecue, Wax Bar, MOJO, and more. The Leeds Hospitality industry has come together to express their support of the #NationalTimeOut initiative.
"On the whole, we are not huge national or international companies but in Leeds alone we employ thousands of people," they write, "and across the country millions are employed in hospitality. We are limited companies, partnerships and family firms nurtured sometimes over decades or generations with love at the cost of blood, sweat and considerable tears in the quest to build our dreams.
"Those dreams now hang in ragged tatters. Torn by the storm which is Covid 19. We blame no one for it but we had no way to prepare for it or mitigate against it. Even those of us who had infectious disease insurance are having their claims stone walled by insurers.
"Without assistance we simply cannot survive on our own."
What is the National Time Out?
"Presently, hospitality businesses across the UK are in free fall," writes the Leeds petition. "Whilst the initiatives already established by HM Government are needed and welcomed, they do not provide all the support that is so desperately required for our sector to survive. Indeed, should the mandatory and understandable closure of our businesses continue for much longer as now seems likely, it is questionable whether the effort to establish the current measures was even worthwhile."
The National Time Out proposes that hospitality, leisure and retail will be given a nine-month rent holiday to support them during the pandemic. It is thought that this move could protect millions of sector jobs and keep the hospitality industry thriving.
"As explained in the Hospitality Union’s proposal," the petition continues, "we require a breathing space from rental payments until we can become operational entities once again. The proposal from the Hospitality Union provides a framework to do that, whilst not ignoring the fact that we do not exist in isolation. We understand that our landlords have covenants which they must satisfy, as indeed their lenders require to balance their books. Government intervention is required here to protect all these levels. Without it, everything could collapse like a house of cards."
"As people who have fought and grafted for years to build our businesses, begging for help does not come easily. Yet here we are on bended knee. We ask you adopt the #NationalTimeOut framework urgently so that lenders can support landlords who can in turn support operators.
If not the social fabric of our country will never be the same again."