Wednesday 22 April 2020 2:28 pm

Consumers 'uncomfortable' returning to pubs and restaurants after coronavirus lockdown

The hospitality industry could continue to struggle when venues are allowed to reopen after the UK coronavirus lockdown, as the latest research showed customers are nervous about returning to pubs, bars and restaurants.

All hospitality and leisures businesses were ordered to close when the government announced the UK coronavirus lockdown on 23 March, and pubs, bars and restaurants could be among the last businesses to see restrictions lifted.

However, the latest research by Yougov, showed that more than half of consumers are nervous about returning to places where they could be in close proximity to other people. This includes pubs and restaurants, as well as gyms and beauty salons. 

The latest research showed that 63 per cent of punters feel uncomfortable about returning to pubs and bars after UK coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted. 32 per cent said they would be comfortable visiting pubs and bars after lockdown.

Meanwhile, 57 per cent of restaurant customers are uncertain about dining out again, with just 37 per cent saying they would be comfortable going to restaurants after the UK coronavirus lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

“It’s understandably a really difficult time for businesses right now and they’ll all be hoping that they can return to normal as quickly as possible,” said Yougov research manager Chris Curtis. 

“However, Yougov’s new research shows that it might not be the case once the government decides to start lifting the lockdown measures, as a majority of Brits are currently uncomfortable about going back to places such as pubs, bars and restaurants. 

“It may be that as time passes and the virus starts to die out that confidence returns to consumers but for some businesses out there, particularly those that involve closer contact, simply opening the doors again may not be enough to see customers flood back.”