Coronavirus is here, self-isolation is upon us and people are being “very strongly advised” to stay away from public spaces, pubs and the like. Whilst it is of great importance that we all work together to do our part to contain COVID-19 and the groups that it poses the greatest threat to, it is also necessary to appreciate the enormous danger that the hospitality industry in this country is facing.
Boris Johnson’s inexcusable delay in promising support to the hospitality industry was rightly met with uproar and calls to action; his further whishy-washing stance on a “lockdown” means there remains a disparity between insurance company’s reaction to claims, resulting in thousands of independent businesses facing permanent closure and hundreds of thousands of jobs teetering on the brink. As the UK’s third largest sector for employment, this continued uncertainty and possible future lockdown both could spell disaster for the food and drinks industry.
So, what can we do to help?
Sign a Petition
Some information and support has been given, thanks to an enormous cry of outrage from the industry, however more is needed. Please consider signing this: Call for the Government to Support UK’s Hospitality Industry through the Coronavirus Crisis.
Gift Cards and Vouchers
If venues are offering vouchers for future meals or drinks, purchase these from them directly. They will then be able to use the money in the interim whilst this crisis is happening, and you will get a pre-paid meal or round of drinks when the quarantine period is over. Win win!
Gift vouchers for the incredible sustainable and anti-waste restaurant Cub, can be purchased via its website and includes options such as a set menu of food and drinks for two, plus an extra round of drinks and a cheese course! Read our review here. Vouchers start from £75. Find them here.
Opium in Chinatown is also offering gift vouchers from £25, as well as vouchers for its cocktail masterclasses. Vouchers can be bought here.
Virtual Happy Hour
Missing out on the social vibe of a drink out with friends? Why not take it online? As Steph DiCamillo (Brand Ambassador at That Boutique-y Gin Company) suggests,
“Instead of taking your happy hour to the bar, take it online. Grab yourself a tea/wine/beer/cocktail and catch up with all the people you never get to see. You have no excuse, now that you can’t go anywhere! When you have finished your Happy Hour, get everyone in your group to donate the price of the drinks to your group’s favourite local bar. It may not seem like a lot of money, but every bit will help our friends get through this.”
Online sessions can be carried out across whatever platform works for you: Google Hangouts, Skype, Whatsapp…up to you! You can donate to your bar of choice by paying over the phone, or emailing them for other options.
We’re seeing a lot of restaurants and cafés starting to do takeaways so that would-be diners can enjoy stunning food from the comfort of their own homes. This helps to keep the venues afloat and makes sure food supplies are not wasted, whilst giving people peace of mind (and meaning you can enjoy a fancy meal at home in your PJs).
One such venue doing this is North London’s Mother at The Mosaic – a vibrant and inclusive neighbourhood community café serving up international home-cooking with a side of motherly love. Example dishes include Sri Lankan Chicken or Aubergine Peanut Kari with Coconut Sambal, Milk Rice and Cucumber Salad; Beef or Potato Rendang with Kaffir Lime Rice and Sesame Salad; Macaroni Cheese and Corn Bread with Sweetcorn Salsa and Chilli Ketchup. Order via Instagram. Delivery will be available from Monday 23rd March 2020. See social media channels for updates.
Some of the UK’s leading bars are now offering takeaway drinks, so that you can enjoy award-winning cocktails in the time of Corona from the comfort of your own home.
Bars who have announced this service can be found in our ever-updating List of Bars offering Cocktail Deliveries during Coronavirus Lockdown. If your favourite isn’t listed however, why not drop them a line to check – it never hurts to ask!
For bars who are interested in doing something like this but don’t quite have the operation in place, community-minded drinks distributor, Mangrove, is here to help. On-Trade Sales Director Chris Pollard states:
“We are currently providing an ready-to-drink cocktail solution via white label cocktails so bars are able to sell to consumers at home. We’re able to hand-deliver cocktails to bars and are happy to help them to consumers too. We’re also up for helping clean bars, deliver food and drink to those who cannot leave the house, walk their dogs…anything really!”