Published: 11:13, 17 March 2020
| Updated: 11:26, 17 March 2020
Tourism body Visit Kent says the Government must act now to help businesses in the county survive the coronavirus crisis.
A statement from chairman Jonathan Neame and chief executive officer Deidre Wells said Government advice to stay away from events and attractions means many will struggle to keep going without urgent intervention.
They said: "As we approach the all-important Easter season we are faced with the prospect of a significant reduction in business for our members, due to the advice on social distancing.
We understand that the priority must be to protect public health and due to the unprecedented scale of this virus, disruption to our everyday lives is inevitable.
"We are concerned, however, that many of our businesses will simply be unable to manage the downturn in revenue which this announcement will mean. Many small and medium sized businesses which are the lifeblood of our industry and our economy will struggle to manage cash-flow over this difficult period.
We are therefore calling on the Government to provide immediate cash injection to enable businesses and their teams to survive following the latest advice.
"Before this crisis took hold, our destination was in high demand, with an exciting year of events ahead of us. Government support now will ensure that our vibrant and innovative industry can weather the storm and be ready to rebuild when the crisis has passed.
"We at Visit Kent stand ready to do all we can to support our businesses through this difficult time and we urge the Government to do the same."
The plea came as Kent's biggest theatre announced it would close for a month and Cineworld shut its cinemas.
More by this authorIan Johns