Frustration for Harrogate’s hospitality sector as opening dates still unclear

Those in charge of keeping Harrogate’s hospitality sector running have said they are becoming increasingly frustrated as they are still unsure when guest houses, hotels and pubs can reopen - and what the guidelines will be when they can.

Monday, 1st June 2020, 2:46 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 2:50 pm
Simon Cotton, Managing Director at HRH Group, has said while the lack of information on reopening is frustrating, businesses must stay positive.

Hoteliers, B&B owners and landlords watched in anticipation last week as Boris Johnson addressed the nation, hoping to receive more information on when they can open their doors and welcome the public once again.

But the announcement never came and many people in Harrogate have said they are starting to worry about the future and making plans to fit with the current social distancing rules.

Simon Cotton, Managing Director at HRH Group which includes The White Hart and The Yorkshire Hotel, said: “Frustration levels moved up yet another notch within the world of hospitality, not that we can't open, but more from the lack of knowledge about when we can.

“We hear a lot about the need to be patient however you don't have to look far to see that we are in a place where patience is something that seems to be running short right now.

“Hospitality businesses are being asked to be patient with their circumstances, patient with their business losses, patient with their future plan changes and patient with their natural desire to return back to some sort of normalcy.

”The longer this goes on, the greater the challenge we'll have to face with longer-term difficulties.”

And other hotel owners across the town have said they are finding it increasingly difficult to know what to tell guests about when they can stay and how things will work - including if they will need to make changes to their dining options or how many rooms they can offer at one time.

But despite the frustration and the understandable need for more information, Mr Cotton says it is important for people to stay positive, continue abiding by the rules and not lose sight of why they are doing this.

He added: out. “Ultimately of course, we're all human and as such, we're all different and our level of patience differs. Patience is the level of endurance one can have before negativity and I can't imagine anyone out there who hasn't felt themselves starting to lean into negativity in one way or another.

“But whilst we're a very long way from the end, the next chapter is certainly in sight and I do believe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

“At HRH Group, one thing we have done right from the very beginning, is to visualize the future, focus on how we plan for a return to normalcy, picturing hospitality, tourism, society and our community in an even better place now we've had this very difficult time to reflect and analyse our businesses and how we can improve things for the better.

“I know some want to break free and open up now, but I think we should resist the temptation to break out of the blocks too soon, resist the temptation to be negative and gear up to be ready to open our Harrogate hospitality offering when the time is right, just a few short weeks from now, hopefully.

“I think we have to remain focussed and take a leaf out of Captain Tom Moore's book and believe that tomorrow will be a good day.”