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The last few months has been exceptional, and its amazing what difference a few weeks makes to the outlook. In mid June the position pre unlocking trade seemed near impossible to read.
Trade was to be allowed but how would the rules on social distancing work; what would the customers appetite to visit be like, let alone even enter a venue and spend money.
By mid August , the position whilst still complex beyond prior years has at least answered the position on consumer demand, the answer is demand is way beyond expectations and trade has been little short of staggering.
Government support to the sector has seen traders in Skegness and the Lincolnshire coast be given the best possible chance of building sufficient reserves to get through into the 2021 season with more confidence than thought possible just a few months ago.
Eat Out to Help Out, has certainly caught the publics imagination and demand has been incredible, but vitally levelled customers into the quieter days which on venues operating at reduced capacity has been of incredible value.
Reduced VAT to 5% will ultimately be of value when Winter moves into Spring 2021, as the extra margin will help buffer the sector into hopefully a more predictable 2021 season.
But, the biggest impact seen so far is the massive amount of re engineering that has occurred in the way businesses are being ran. The operators, have clearly used the lockdown to sit back and re think the various businesses they operate. Almost without exception, every business i see has exited the lock down , leaner and operating on better margins. The changes are both fundamental and subtle , but wow are they effective.
What remains to be seen is will the new re engineered models be sustainable into the future, or will the new model prove too hard to maintain , as its clear staff and owners are working much harder , longer and faster than ever before, all as operators seek to shore up the lockdown damage .
The Government incentive to retain staff might work, but it does seem February will be a decision time on how many staff are over wintered into 2021. That said virtually every venue is operating on greatly reduced staff already, so perhaps the fallout might not be so great as feared.
None the less , the position now seems so much more positive than could have ever been thought just 2 months ago, thank goodness and massive congratulations to all involved.