HAMPSHIRE’S hospitality industry will be hoping for a shot in the arm when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme gets under way today.

The scheme offers customers a 50 per cent discount on food and soft drinks on Mondays to Wednesdays throughout August.

Southampton Region Hoteliers Association said many of its members’ restaurants were taking part.

Its chair, Richard Powell, said: “The last few months has certainly had its challenges for hospitality, the largest many of us have ever seen as one of the hardest sectors to be hit.

“I speak on behalf of the Southampton Region Hoteliers Association in saying that we are delighted that most of us have been able to welcome back guests and we are excited to be part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

“We look forward to seeing familiar and new faces to our hotel restaurants during August and beyond.”

Although some hotels remained open throughout the lockdown to accommodate NHS staff, many were closed for three months until July 4.

Reopening was a gradual process for many, ensuring safety for visitors and staff. Many are looking to make their leisure facilities accessible again shortly.

The Eat Out to Help Out discount cannot be used on alcohol or service charges but can be used alongside other offers and discounts. There is no limit to the number of times people can use the scheme and no minimum spend.

More than 53,000 outlets have signed up.

Southampton-born chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our restaurants, cafes and bars play a vital role in our economy, employing more than a million people. They have been hit hard by coronavirus, so it’s vital we do everything we can to help them recover.”

Southampton Region Hoteliers Association members taking part include Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel, Careys Manor Hotel, Elizabeth House Hotel, Holiday Inn Eastleigh, Holiday Inn Fareham, Holiday Inn Southampton, Jurys Inn Southampton, MacDonald Botley Park, Marwell Hotel, Mercure Southampton Dolphin Hotel, New Place Hotel, Novotel, Potters Heron, Solent Hotel & Spa, Southampton Harbour Hotel, Spot in The Woods and the Star Hotel.

The Daily Echo has published a list of participating venues.