Restaurants call for government action as footfall slips amid the coronavirus outbreak

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The hospitality industry is calling on the government to do more to help as footfall slides amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Some city centre restaurants and pubs have reported a 50 per cent drop in customers as an increasing number of people work from home.

In his budget on Wednesday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 12-month business rates holiday for small businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

But more than 70 per cent of restaurants do not fall into the category, and it is many of the larger enterprises, based in busy transport hubs and in prime locations, which are suffering.

UK Hospitality said sales in London fell by seven per cent last week alone and has implored the Treasury to increase the threshold.

CEO Kate Nicholls said: “We welcome the government’s support of smaller businesses, but most won’t benefit and it is bigger restaurants, pubs and bars that are suffering most.

“There has been a big drop in trade as people stay away from city centres. A lot of businesses are struggling and if more isn’t done we could see failures.”

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