Restaurant owner and MasterChef: The Professionals judge Marcus Wareing is imploring Brits to stay at home and support home-grown industries once lockdown is over.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Wareing, who owns the Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus in London, said he wants people to spend their cash on UK businesses once they are open again.
“One of my biggest messages is don't plan to go abroad,” he told host Kate Thornton.
“Let's stay in this country. Let's spend our money here. Let's support local pubs, restaurants, small hotels. Let's have our staycation in this country.”
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He continued: “If it's anything like last year's summer, the weather's going to be great. I don't think we all need to get on a plane just to have to go on holiday.
"There's still a problem out there and there's still a level of caution I think we all need to have. I just think that we all need to be sensible and be brave and not feel that we're losing out because we can't go on holiday.”
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The chef, who is helping to promote Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day this year, says we can’t go through a fourth lockdown and that the government need to come up with a 'big, bold, brave' plan.
Talking about Boris Johnson’s map out of lockdown he said: “Hopefully next week, we'll see some certainty or hear some certainty from Boris. I just hope there's a plan — a big long-term plan. We've got the vaccines getting into people's arms; there's no reason now why government can't put a plan together that's big, bold, brave.”
While Wareing says he would love people to start socialising in restaurants once again, he also says we’ve got a major part to play in the reopening of the UK – which involves reporting people if they’re not playing by the rules.
“We all can do our bit,” the 50-year-old said. “I think the message really does need to be from government: ‘It is down to you — the general public; us, the industries that are locked up — to do the right thing.
“I think if we all do the right thing and keep an eye on what everyone else is doing — we've got to report people doing wrong things, we've got to follow the rules. We can't do this again.”
The pandemic has hit the hospitality trade extremely hard, withmore than a third of business saying they are at risk of going bust, and the top rated chef says while opening up is essential, it’s also quite frightening.
“There's already going to be problems on the horizon when we start opening up again,” the TV star admitted.
“Businesses start to have landlords wanting their bills paid, VAT paid, so many unpaid bills and it's going to be very scary. It's all very well opening - it's how it's going to look is a completely different thing.”
While lockdown has been bleak for businesses and people around the UK, Wareing said there have been some positives, like finding an appreciation of colleagues and work.
He told Thornton: “I think that when I went back to the restaurant eventually… I really did feel there was incredible amount of appreciation for your fellow worker, your colleagues around you and all the different people that work in different industries.
“Everyone was just happy and thrilled and on fire. There was a lovely respect for each other's work a little bit more than there was there in the past.”
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