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Going to coffee shops Britain’s second most missed outings during pandemic

From the May 2020 issue.

Visiting coffee shops is top of the list of things British people miss the most during lockdown, according to one of the largest national surveys carried out on the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the Allegra Strategies survey, 4000 people were asked a range of questions on the personal impact of the crisis, their future concerns, and their views on the government’s handling of the crisis.

When asked which social outings they missed the most – with people three choices allowed – 42 per cent cited visiting cafés and coffee shops. Visiting friends and family was most popular at 60 per cent or respondents, with travelling/day trips placing third at 31 per cent out of the 17 suggested outings.

CEO of Allegra Strategies Jeffrey Young said the government now needed to set out a concrete action plan for how the hospitality industry would return and how it could protect the millions of people working in the sector.

“The hospitality industry is one of the worst affected sectors of our economy. And yet these environments such as our local coffee shops and restaurants are predominantly linked to our socialisation and a lot of local community engagement,” Allegra Strategies CEO Jeffrey Young says.

“Hospitality is a major part of the British economy and fabric of our society. The warmth of hospitality is what we all yearn for. It is where we celebrate life events, where we meet friends for a catch-up. Our restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs are at the very heart of British life.”

However, the survey found that while there is still a threat to people's health, a majority don’t think businesses should be reopened just to preserve the economy.

“Social distancing measures will undoubtedly have a long term and profound impact on the sector. Even where there is enough footfall the rate at which restaurants can accommodate people [in terms of reducing table numbers] will be far lower, which leads to less revenue and lower staff numbers,” Young says.

“The impact on hospitality workers, of which there are millions, is quite catastrophic and heartbreaking. The government has done much to help so far but I truly believe that the only way forward is to have flexible furlough for a far longer period to help this sector.”

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