An online petition urging the government to support the hospitality industry during the coronavirus outbreak has taken off

A petition urging the government to support the hospitality industry during the coronavirus outbreak has reached over 120,000 signatures at the time of publishing.

Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised the public to stop going to bars and restaurants on 16 March, but did not enforce a ban.

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Businesses which were already getting quieter are now expected to be empty come this weekend, which should have seen St Patrick's Day and Mother's Day celebrations take place.

As the government has not banned going out, many local bars, restaurants and businesses won't be able to claim on their insurance for loss of earnings, and many have taken to social media to voice their concern.

Alex Claridge, chef and owner of The Wilderness - a fine dining restaurant in Birmingham - has taken things further and started a petition calling on the UK Government to support UK's hospitality industry through the Coronavirus crisis.

So far the petition has been widely shared and has almost 125,000 signatures - it has a goal of 150,000.

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What the petition is asking for

The petition asks clear support - financial and practical - laid out by the government, for both staff and business owners alike. It also demands a decision from the government as, if businesses take the decision to close, any form of insurance is no longer an option.

The hospitality sector also wants clarity for guests, to ensure their safety, as well as transparency on a timeline, so businesses can prepare logistically and rationally for times ahead.

The full petition, which can be viewed and signed here, reads:

"The Coronavirus is a challenge and a tragedy in equal measure for this country, and we know how real the threat is to societies most vulnerable. All of us in hospitality wish to play our part in protecting those who need it and assisting in anyway possible to see the country through these dark times.

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"That said the UK governments total lack of responsibility for the hospitality industry is unacceptable. The hospitality industry is the third largest industry in the UK with many jobs at stake. In choosing to not officially close restaurants, bars, hotels and other venues and instead putting the onus on consumers and business owners is both a dangerous and cowardly decision.

"We are petitioning for the government to take responsibility and formally close venues if that is what is actually required, instead of effectively doing so without taking ownership."