As Covid-19 continues to leave its mark on the nation, David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association (TSA) sums up the toll the disease is taking on the industry.
Stevens says there are 28,000 laundry operators currently supporting the UK economy. "However, it is a story of two halves with the healthcare laundries now working 24 hrs a day to support the incredible job our NHS is currently providing while on the other hand, 75% are facing a potential catastrophic business failure."
Stevens continued: “We are so proud of the extraordinary people working within healthcare laundries. The general public does not realise the job they do nor do they understand that the NHS would halt operations within 24 hours if this service failed.
“However, the rest of our industry is facing potential collapse. We are directly linked to the UK hospitality and manufacturing industries. If a hotel’s occupancy rates halve, so does the volume of the laundry received for processing. There are around 250 hospitality laundries in the UK, and we predict half of them will not survive the current crisis without significant government support, currently what has been offered is totally inadequate.”
He continued: “There are three million jobs in the hospitality sector that depend on a laundry to process their uniforms, bed linen, towelling and table linen. We need to ensure this essential service sector survives the crisis. Otherwise, the hospitality will not be able to ramp up in a post-coronavirus economy.”
Tony Sophoclides from the UK Hospitality Association added: “We have worked with TSA recently to develop technical briefings on how we deal with the Covid-19 crisis but cannot stress how essential the laundry industry is to the hospitality market. As we enter into an incredibly uncertain time, we need to ensure the essential services to our hospitality market have the ability to resume normal trading. The Government must provide support to these essential industries”.
Stevens concluded: “Our industry is similar to the hospitality sector – there are some very large PLC operators, but also many small independent laundries which simply do not have the cash reserves for any prolonged shutdown. Many operators are already operating at 50% capacity and this will result in many business failures.”
• Watch this space for more updates from TSA on the situation as it develops.