Staycations ‘off the table until March’ as coronavirus shuts hotels nationwide

Staycations could be off the table until March at the earliest with foreign holidays even further behind, experts warned, as tier restrictions mean the vast majority of hotels in Britain are closed.

Hotels must shut their doors in both tiers three and four, while restrictions on movement prohibit overnight stays in a bid to curb the current coronavirus spike.

And an industry expert has warned that it could be March before holidaymakers can even think about getting away again.

Paul Charles, of the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said: “Never before have I seen near enough every hotel in the UK closed. 

“They are usually open every day by their nature, so to see them closed nationwide is not only heart wrenching but also a sad sign of how covid is affecting our lives.

“I think it will be March before staycations reemerge. It’s tough closing a hotel, you can’t just switch them back on overnight. You have to clean the rooms, the communal areas.”

He said that it would be an even longer wait for the return of foreign holidays, with some long haul destinations possibly not reopening their borders until the late summer.

Robin Hutson, of the Pig Hotels Group, said that the industry has become “numb” to the ever-changing restrictions and said hoteliers needed clarity.

He added: “At the end of the day, we want to do our bit to keep everyone safe, we would just rather know we are going to be shut down for say six weeks rather than second guessing every two weeks. 

“That way we can properly mothball everything and make more savings from our fixed costs, rather than being on constant standby mode.”

UK Hospitality, the trade body, said it was vital that businesses are given assurances of further support.

Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The sector has suffered more than any other under Covid and without urgent action we will witness a hospitality bloodbath, losing thousands of venues for good.”

A spokesman for the Treasury said it understood the pressure businesses are under and has provided a £280bn support package, which it said is “among the most generous in the world”.

The furlough scheme has been extended until April, while businesses forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 a month.

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