Hospitality faces drop in trade with no government support

THE latest press conference from Downing Street was another blow for hospitality as Chris Whitty warned the country to prioritise and deprioritise the events we attend in the coming days.

Our sector is now facing the worst of both worlds – a recent drop in trade and no Government support

Speaking from Number Ten on Wednesday 15 December, the Chief Medical Officer for England said on the latest spike in COVID-19, "This is a really serious threat ... all the things we do know are bad," adding that "people have to make their own choices."

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said that the Government’s public health messaging is taking a sledgehammer to what is usually the busiest period of the year for night time economy businesses.

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'People have to make their own choices' said Mr Whitty Image: Confidentials

“With the Prime Minister appearing to lack the political will to impose actual restrictions, and instead seeking to induce a pseudo-lockdown through repeated sombre-sounding announcements, our sector is now facing the worst of both worlds – a recent drop in trade and no Government support to help us through,” said Mr Kill in a statement.

“The Chancellor needs to come out of hiding and outline how he will support nightlife businesses – who have already carried so much burden in the last two years - through the Omicron wave. Surely he can see it will only be worse for the economy in the long run if these businesses are left to try to fend off failure on their own.”

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Restaurants have experienced a huge drop in trade Image: Pixabay

Boris Johnson has previously said that he doesn’t want people to cancel Christmas parties, while Chris Whitty is telling us not to mix with people we don’t have to. The Government seems to be telling us that Christmas parties are fine - as long as we don’t go to them. 

“You can’t tell people to ‘think carefully' before going to pubs and restaurants and then fail to provide any support for the workers/businesses affected,” Tweeted Andy Burnham.

“The Government needs to bring forward a support package TODAY for hospitality, events, music and other affected sectors.”

Lunyalita, the little sister of Lunya at Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock, said that business was slow, Tweeting:

“Next Wednesday (22nd) we now don’t have a single booking. If you’re worried about social distancing, Lunyalita is the place to come.”

It was a similar response from Ellis Barrie at Lerpwl:

“I’m getting some heavy cancellations at the min guys. If you can come out we do have a lot of slots opening up. Yes I’m shitting myself.”

Sacha Lord, night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, said that Rishi Sunak needed to stand up and offer immediate help and a long term strategy to save hospitality.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been criticised as missing in action for being in California while the UK faces an economic crisis.

From Friday 10 December, face coverings have become compulsory in England in most public indoor venues, but are not required in hospitality venues where food and drink are consumed, such as pubs, cafés and restaurants.