Hampstead and Highgate restaurants welcome Eat Out to Help Out scheme
PUBLISHED: 18:00 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 16 July 2020
Restaurants have welcomed the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which offers a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now sign up to a new government initiative aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out.
Once businesses register on the Eat Out to Help Out page, they can offer a 50 per cent reduction up to a maximum of £10 per person to all diners who eat and/or drink-in.
The scheme, announced last week by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, will be available throughout August and valid Mondays to Wednesdays.
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“I am excited,” said Fokrul Islam of Indian restaurant Kiplings in Highgate. “I think it’s a good thing for our customers. I hope people will come out and support small businesses.
“We’ll have social distancing until all things are clear.”
Others are being cautiously optimistic. Eoin Ryan of The Bull in Highgate said: “It’s good on the face of it. We’re still to sit down with our accountants but anything that encourages people out in a safe way is a good thing.
“We have the same concerns as the rest of the nation in that we try to do things the right way.
“We’ve been open since Saturday (July 4) but we’re taking quite a conservative approach to how our business runs so wearing face masks all round, lots of sanitising, lots of cleaning.
“But on the whole it’s positive. We’re lucky I think where we are and our demographic is a little bit more mature so it has been quite controlled and everyone’s behaving themselves quite nicely.”
The scheme is designed to boost the recovering hospitality industry after more than three months of lockdown.
Marcos Gold, business improvement district manager of Hampstead Village, said: “The chancellor’s announcement encouraging people to go out and enjoy local restaurants is welcomed.
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“Especially in Hampstead where we have some amazing offers for people to enjoy. We need to build confidence back up so we can ensure all businesses thrive as we start reopening safely.”
Customers do not need a voucher as participating establishments will just remove the discount from their bill and reclaim the discounted amount through an online service, supported by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Claims can be made on a weekly basis and will be paid into bank accounts within five working days.
The scheme is open to eligible establishments across the UK and can be used Monday to Wednesday between August 3 and 31.
Businesses will receive a window sticker to show they are using the scheme and can download promotional items from www.gov.uk.
Mr Sunak said: “Restaurants and other eligible establishments are now able to support jobs by signing up to a place on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
“HMRC’s quick and easy registration page will soon have you on your way to welcoming back your customers with discounted dining on every Monday to Wednesday throughout August, with a simple process to reclaim these discounts back from the government each week.”
Jim Harra, chief executive and first permanent secretary of HMRC, said: “The hospitality industry is among the sectors worst affected by Covid-19.
“The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme will deliver support to around 130,000 businesses, including restaurants, cafes and bars serving food and drink, helping to protect 1.8 million jobs across the UK.
“Registering is easy, and we urge businesses to sign up early so they are ready to use the scheme when it starts on August 3.
“Businesses have made great efforts to re-open their sit-down services safely in line with social distancing guidance, so people can feel confident to dine out again.”
A searchable restaurant finder tool will be available to the public before the scheme launches.
Only restaurants offering an eat-in service will be able to register.
Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme
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