The government must “stop the blame game” and work with the hospitality sector, rather than hold it responsible for rising infections, UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said.

Speaking on MCA’s The Conversation, Nicholls said the sector was well placed to provide a safe space to socialise, and was preferable than the possible alternative of house parties and illegal raves.

She also cautioned against the sector being left in limbo for an extended period of time, without a clear picture of when restrictions would be lifted.

Nicholls said UKH was lobbying government to reduce the review period of its harshest restrictions from four weeks to two weeks. 

She said: “We cannot afford to let the trade be left in limbo for six months with this level of restrictions.

“The government is proposing that they will be reviewed every 28 days, but we believe that’s far too long, particularly for something as significant as businesses, where they are potentially going bust if they don’t get any additional support.”

She said areas like Manchester had been left in “a sort of limbo” for extended period of time since July, with restrictions on trade only escalating rather than being reduced.

She said it was important to avoid this kind of “multi layering” of restrictions, and return to a situations where businesses are free to operate safely and to try and rebuild consumer confidence.

Nicholls added: “Now the government has arranged this, and once it’s gone through the House of Commons and it’s set in law, we now need to stop the blame game.

“The government needs to work with us to set out how safe our businesses are, to encourage people who are able to go out to continue to do so, and to avoid the unforeseen consequence of lots of people in unregulated household parties or unregulated illegal raves.”