This is how the 'eat out to help out' scheme will work in Harrogate - and how restaurants, cafés, and pubs can sign up

The government has released details on how restaurants, cafés, and pubs in Harrogate can register to its "eat out to help out" discount scheme.

Friday, 10th July 2020, 12:45 pm
Updated Friday, 10th July 2020, 1:22 pm

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week unveiled the scheme to give diners a 50 per cent discount off their bills during August under plans to bolster the embattled hospitality sector.

It comes after pubs and restaurants reopened on Saturday after more than three months in lockdown, with safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Announcing the scheme, Mr Sunak said it was aimed at getting "customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs" and protecting "the 1.8 million people who work in them".

The deal means people can get up to 10 off per head if they eat out from Monday to Wednesday.

How will it work for customers?

The deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out from Monday to Wednesday.

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme.

Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.

Customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.

How will it work for businesses?

Businesses can claim the money back from the government and will be able to register through a website that opens on Monday, July 13.

Takeaways, catering companies, mobile food vans and hotels that provide room service only are not eligible for the scheme.

Businesses must have their own or shared dining areas and be registered with the council on or before 7 July to be able to register.

Businesses that sign up will be able to download promotional materials and will be added to a public list of registered establishments.

What do they think?

Sara Ferguson, who is the acting chair of Harrogate BID and also owns Italian restaurant Sasso, said she hopes the scheme and safety measures put in place by businesses will bring diners back to the table.

“Like my colleagues in the hospitality trade, I hope ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ will have the desired results and bring customers into pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants", she said.

“Many people are still hesitant about going out, but hopefully by next month, coupled with this inducement and the measures businesses have gone to in ensuring the safety of customers and staff, they will venture out.

“Coming at the beginning of school summer holidays is good timing and limiting it to beginning part of the week makes perfect sense, as these are traditionally quieter days.

“It will also hopefully have a beneficial knock-on effect for the retail trade, with people taking the opportunity to shop in addition to eating and drinking. This in turn will help boost the local economy and safeguard jobs and livelihoods.”

Coun Pat Marsh, leader of the Lib Dems on Harrogate Borough Council, has also welcomed the announcement.

She said: "We human beings are very social beings and the Covid crisis has shown us how important it is to be with family and friends. What a better way to do this but in our local pubs, bars and restaurants.

"We are blessed in the district with some wonderful places to eat and it would be a huge shame if these were lost. The businesses are already struggling to replace the loss of conference and exhibition customers so it is up to us to step up and make sure we support our local eateries, as ever respecting social distancing.

"Hopefully this won't be the end of support for the hospitality industry which underpins not only our local economy but quite a large amount of the UK's economy."

Mr Sunak also announced VAT on hospitality and tourism would drop to 5 per cent.

The reduction, from 20 per cent, will be in place for the next six months.

Ashleigh Lambert, owner of the Six Poor Folk pub in Knaresborough, said the government announcement is a "welcome step in the right direction."

She said: “Both the VAT reduction and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme should attract customers back to the pub, with food and drink available at more affordable prices during these challenging times.

“While we have seen the bar busy since the easing of restrictions, we’re still not confident that footfall will return to pre-pandemic levels immediately.

“But at least, with the extra business that these government measures will bring in, we’ll be able to pay the bills and make sure our pub remains at the heart of the community.”

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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