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Boss of restaurant group Loungers which has sites in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Sudbury, labels Government Coronavirus messaging 'absolutely shambolic'




The boss of bar and restaurant group Loungers, which has three Suffolk locations, has labelled the Government’s recent messaging around Covid-19 rules as “absolutely shambolic."

Nick Collins, chief executive of the 175-site business, described Covid passports as “unworkable” for the hospitality sector and said he “can’t imagine a scenario” where Covid certification would be necessary for his customers.

This comes after the Prime Minister announced on Monday that full vaccination will be a condition of entry to clubs and other venues with large crowds in England from the end of September and a spokesman for Boris Johnson refused to rule out a similar requirement for pubs and bars.

Edmundo Lounge, Bury St Edmunds, is one of the Loungers locations
Edmundo Lounge, Bury St Edmunds, is one of the Loungers locations

Loungers, which runs individually-named Lounge venues such as Edmundo Lounge in Bury St Edmunds and Prado Lounge in Sudbury, as well as the Cosy Club brand which can be found in Ipswich town centre, recently reported a recovery in trading following the end of lockdown measures.

It said sales increased by 23.7 per cent from the indoor reopening of venues on May 17 to July 18, compared with the same period in 2019 and that it has benefited from past-pandemic trends as flexible work patterns resulted in busier high streets.

Mr Collins said such a move would be another major blow to the hospitality sector and criticised the Government’s communication over potential rule changes.

There are 175 Loungers sites in the UK. Picture: Loungers/PA. (49444118)
There are 175 Loungers sites in the UK. Picture: Loungers/PA. (49444118)

“The messaging from the Government on this issue has been absolutely shambolic and completely unhelpful,” he said.

“I don’t think certification would be likely to applicable for us but I have to stress that it is completely unworkable for everyone in the sector.

“Not only that, it’s a massive violation of civil liberties. It shouldn’t be something we are talking about.”

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