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19 Oct, 2020 17:51

‘Left behind’: UK hospitality workers bang pots & pans to make Parliament hear their pleas amid coronavirus restrictions (VIDEO)

Hospitality sector workers and business owners in the UK have staged a protest outside Parliament to demand a review of the government’s “arbitrary” Covid-19 restrictions and secure more support for their businesses.

The crowd of demonstrators gathered at Parliament Square in London on Monday morning to voice their discontent over the restrictions Boris Johnson’s government has imposed on the industry in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The UK has once again been struggling to contain the outbreak in recent weeks, and was already hit hard by Covid-19 in the spring.

Chefs, waiters, waitresses, pub owners and caterers banged kitchen utensils for about half an hour in an attempt to make MPs hear their pleas. The rally participants also held placards and banners that read: “Save hospitality” and “Let us serve cake.”

Other messages were apparently designed to show that the sector is not the root of the problem when it comes to combating the disease. “If you think this is a crowd... you should see the tube at 10:02pm,” one placard read. Another said: “We can do our jobs safely. Can you do yours properly?”

“I am here because as a sector – weddings, catering and events – I think it has been left behind in the conversation,” one of the protesters told RT’s video agency, Ruptly.

“I don’t expect venues full of people and corporate events to start happening, but I do think there needs to be a conversation about how this sector is going to survive.”

One of the rally organizers also told Ruptly that the sector’s workers want the government to base its policies on clear “science and facts,” instead of taking some “arbitrary” decisions that hurt the industry. Demands for sector-specific financial support were also made.

The protesters soon received support from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said that “our bars, restaurants and other venues must now get the extra financial support they need urgently to stay afloat.”

The rally comes as UKHospitality, a trade union association representing the sector, warned that over 750,000 jobs could be lost in the coming months due to the curbs put on the work of hospitality venues.

The UK government previously introduced a three-tier system of local lockdowns, combined with stricter rules on mask-wearing and large gatherings, as well as additional measures like a curfew on pubs and other hospitality venues, requiring them to shut down at 10:00pm.

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The measures were taken in response to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases throughout the UK since September. The cumulative number of cases in the country has since grown to over 740,000 as of October 18, according to government data.

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