The government is working on a long-term resilience strategy for the hospitality sector to ensure it remains an attractive career path post-pandemic, according to business minister Paul Scully.
Speaking on a call earlier with trade press, Scully said: "The hospitality sector has been hard-pressed, the people that work within the hospitality sector have been hard-pressed. I'm glad that we've been able to give them as much support as we've been able to… [but] it's a difficult sector to cover in one single way.
"We are working on a hospitality recovery strategy… so that there's something more long-term than this. We're not just talking about ‘let's look at reopening', we're not just talking about the recovery, we want to make the hospitality sector more resilient as well. It's a great place to get into for a career and we want to make sure that there is a good career path for as many young people that are looking to the hospitality sector as a place to go and work."
Yesterday the government announced its workplace testing programme will be expanded to offer free rapid home testing to all businesses with more than 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing. Businesses must register their interest by 12 April to access the free tests, which will be available until the end of June, even if they're not yet open. Scully said testing would be "vital" to the resilience of businesses, including pubs and restaurants, with outdoor hospitality set to reopen on 12 April.
Companies will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees and it was said employers "will retain an important role in encouraging their employees to take and report the results of their test".
Employers with fewer than 10 people can access the community testing programme, which is now offered by all local authorities in England. Work is also under way to allow staff of small businesses to order tests online to be sent to their home.
Scully said it "may be possible" for the third step reopening (17 May), which includes indoor hospitality, "to go further depending on the data" but step four will take place no earlier than 21 June.
Meanwhile, following the closure of the government's Covid certification call for evidence, its review on the use of vaccine passports is understood to be expected in the coming weeks along with the stage four reopening in June.
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