Freedom Day; new beginnings as Industry learns to live with Covid and the fallout from the pandemic.

Although there are many who are celebrating the so-called Freedom Day, there are equally many who feel that it is just a cause of more concern. Daily cases in the U.K. had reached over 50,000, with hospitalizations and death rates also rising. The government has said that cases could reach 100,000 a day this summer and despite all of this, Freedom Day marks a new stage in the pandemic. From today, we all have to learn how to live with Covid.

Learning to live with Covid may well mean greater changes in models than many expect. For those who face serious illness and are vulnerable, it marks a new stage of concerns and many will be reluctant to return to workplaces and travel into the major cities. Last summer seemed almost less tense than the issues facing business in the next six months. There are so many questions hanging in the air:

· What level of employees will return to workplaces within the major cities? Estimates have fallen in recent weeks when one expect them to be gradually rising

· The issue over unpaid rents is still to be resolved

· The major increase in debt will see many either struggle or close their doors yet

· There are major issues facing operators on both supply and with talent.

Freedom Day may not prove to be the moment that was hoped but, from this moment, we all have to find new solutions and make sure that businesses do rebuild.

It is not going to be easy but one of the great lesson from this time is that many companies have not just survived but have been reinventing themselves and their models. Hospitality will rebuild. As hard as it may be, the industry has shown that is robust and ready to face the challenges ahead.

Talking to many CEOs and MDs over the last few weeks, they are not underestimating the challenges to come but they feel that nothing will compare to those awful early days of Lockdown 1 when so many had no answers to the unfolding of events and looked down the barrell. The fact that they survived and adapted has given them the confidence to now face the issues to come. At least, from today, they can start to rebuild and learn how to live with the changes Covid has brought. It is estimated that 40% believe that their models will have changed in some way. Over 70% believe that 2022 will prove to be a good year with a real bounce seen for those who survive.

So the Industry faces 5 tough months but few should bet against it.