UK Pubs And Restaurants Fear “Plan B” Will Lead To 40% Cut In Festive Takings
Pubs and restaurants across the UK are expecting that Christmas cancellations made following the introduction of new measures to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant will see their festive takings cut by up to 40%.
Hospitality venues in the UK have not yet been forced to reintroduce measures such as social distancing or mandatory mask-wearing, but industry leaders have warned that the “Plan B” measures are already causing damage to the sector.
Trade body UKHospitality predicts that takings will be down by as much as 40% for the festive period, which is usually the sector’s busiest and most profitable time of the year.
Data from UKHospitality for Monday to Sunday of last week showed a 13% decrease in trade and a 15% increase in cancellations, compared with pre-pandemic levels. Central London saw takings drop by 40% amid the new “Plan B” measures and a 25% jump in Christmas bookings being cancelled.
“The government’s official advice since the arrival of Omicron and the introduction of plan B has been very clear: go ahead with Christmas and new year parties as long as you are not showing any symptoms of Covid,” the head of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, said.
“Hospitality operators have invested heavily to ensure the safety of staff and customers, focusing on better ventilation, hygiene and sanitation … As a result, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are safer places in which to socialise with family and friends than at home this Christmas.”