We believe that B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels operating under the Covid-safe protocols developed last year should be allowed to open on 12 April rather than 17 May. That five weeks makes £350 million of difference to B&Bs and guesthouses in England.
Under the Government's "Roadmap" to opening for England, in Step 2, on 12 April earliest (p34 of Roadmap document): “Overnight stays away from home in this country will be permitted and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen [same household only]".
The B&B Association has told UK Government officials that hotels,
B&Bs and guesthouses have self-contained accommodation under the
Covid-safe protocols agreed with Government last June.
These allow NO shared bathrooms or shared catering facilities (eg
The key issue therefore turns on the phrase “shared entry/exit” - which alone makes the difference (in the Government's official Roadmap) between opening on 12 April (if no shared entry/exit) and opening on 17 May. That difference is five weeks of the Spring season - a huge amount of potential sales turnover for hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. Based on the ONS figures for our sector from 2019, we estimate that this five weeks equates to some £350 million of booking value (sales turnover) for B&Bs and guesthouses in England.
On a STRICT interpretation of “shared entry/exit”, ie that guests use the same entrance to access the building, almost all hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs do have “shared entry/exit”. However:
• The entrance and corridors are subject to Government-agreed Covid-safe cleaning Protocols; and
• Exactly the same criteria (shared entry/exit) applies to indoor leisure (including gyms), personal care premises, non-essential retail, indoor parent & child groups, and libraries and community centres - ALL of which ARE allowed to open in Step 2 on 12 April.
Last April, May
& June a vast amount of work was undertaken on this, primarily by UK
Hospitality, who developed Protocols for Covid-safe operation for
hotels, which were agreed with the Cabinet Office. We worked with them
to adapt these to a B&B and guesthouse context - the guidance document is here.
It is designed to ensure social distancing in properties, and entails radical changes to breakfast service etc to ensure Covid transmission risks are minimised.
The management of such businesses will be ensuring that all touchpoints are cleaned appropriately, on the entrance itself and in corridors to guest bedrooms.
So we believe that hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses following Covid-safe protocols should be classed as “self-contained” accommodation for these purposes, and so should be allowed to open from 12 April rather than 17 May.