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UK consumers miss cafés and bars most after family and friends during lockdown

Major Allegra survey of 4,000 UK consumers reveals going to coffee shops, restaurants and pubs are three of the top five most missed social outings during the coronavirus lockdown

A coffee shop in London. UK hospitality businesses face deep uncertainty amid the coronavirus lockdown | Photo: Toa Heftiba 

Visiting restaurants, pubs and coffee shops are 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.
The survey, conducted by hospitality and health & wellness research firm, Allegra Strategies, asked 4,000 UK residents 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 three social outings they missed the most from 17 suggested choices, an overwhelming number cited visiting cafes & coffee shops (second choice at 42%), restaurants (fourth choice at 29%) and pubs, and bars, (fifth choice at 19%) as activities they missed most during lockdown.
Visiting friends and family (60%) came top, with travelling/day trips polling third (31%). Further down the list were shopping, gyms, cinema, parks, sporting events, museums, theatre, music shows and events.
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.
“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.
“They have also become a reason to go to the high street. They are a natural adendum to the shopping trip.

Despite a strong yearning among the UK public to resume visiting hospitality businesses, the survey found a majority of respondents thought businesses should be remain closed while there is still a threat to public health.
“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,” said Young.
“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.”
The survey formed part of a wide-ranging investigation into the mood of the UK public during the coronavirus lockdown and covered attitudes to the government response as well as personal wellbeing. 23% of those surveyed expect society to return to normal within 4-6 months, but most (47%) expect a complete recovery to take between 10 and 24 months.

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