In the open letter, Hutson details the challenges faced by rural hospitality businesses and said the summer 2020 season “all but written off” for rural hospitality, “longer term support” and “very careful” reopening rules are required, if collapse of this sub sector and devastation of the rural economy is to be avoided.
The letter has also been signed by other high profile figures in the hospitality sector that have business interests in rural areas, including Rick Stein and Jill Stein, Harry Murray, Michael Caines, Paul and Emma Ainsworth and Malcom Lewis.
Hutson highlights the importance of tourism and hospitality in rural areas and the “ripple” effect that businesses have on the other parts of the rural economy, which include, food, transport and wine producers.
He said: “Despite its seasonal nature, the entrepreneurial flair and sheer creativity of the sector has enabled it to reach every corner of provincial Britain, often where no other enterprise or employment exists.
“The worst possible scenario for rural hospitality, would be the ‘perfect storm’ of furlough ceasing, hospitality opening up, but social distancing rules imposed. This toxic recipe would immediately translate to mass redundancies and the permanent loss of hundreds of thousands of rural jobs.
He added: “This would be economically and socially devastating for rural Britain.”