A PIER boss is concerned for the hospitality and leisure industries after the Prime Minister’s lockdown update shed little light on future plans for attractions.

Anne Ackord, chief executive of The Brighton Pier Group, said the Palace Pier, which is currently closed, was adapting to be able to allow visitors to social distance.

But she was left none the wiser over when it could reopen after Boris Johnson’s Sunday evening address.

The Argus:

Ms Ackord said: “We had been hoping for more detail and a closer potential opening date so that we can reassure our teams that they will be back to work and make firm plans to create a safe environment within as yet unspecified parameters.

"We are currently adapting the pier to allow social distancing and additional hygiene practices and we are confident we can provide a safe environment whatever the restrictions.

“We are still, however, in the position of not knowing when we can open as the need to satisfy the vital tests to move from stage one of a phased opening of the economy to stage three, as outlined by Boris Johnson, means that any anticipated opening date is so dependent upon these criteria being met that it cannot be taken even as a rough guide.”

The Argus:

As a result of the ambiguity in the Prime Minister’s message, she voiced her worries over the impact the lockdown would have on Brighton and Hove’s leisure and hospitality industry.

Ms Ackord said: “While the need to protect lives is clearly understood, the need to protect people’s economic lives is also of paramount importance.

“With the Government’s own estimate of potentially an additional two million unemployed in the second quarter of this year, many in hospitality and leisure, the future looks very fragile for those who, for various reasons, cannot weather the storm. Those that can’t are very much in the thoughts of all of us in Brighton and Hove’s visitor economy sector.”

She said she could not wait to see the “ wonderful, quirky, vibrant city” back on its feet.

The situation at Brighton Palace Pier, meanwhile, is still being monitored.

The Argus:

Ms Ackord said: “As for the pier, we will continue to prepare and look forward to the day we can welcome back our visitors.

“We hope that day is not too far away and that, crucially, when we and all the other hospitality and tourism businesses in Brighton re-open, we continue to receive such support from local and national government to enable us to continue to provide employment for our teams and enjoyment for our customers, while we begin to recover.

“Brighton and Hove is such a wonderful, quirky, vibrant city and I for one cannot wait to see it back together again.”

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