Furious pub boss speaks out after fifth of Christmas Day bookings didn’t show


Owners of the Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro in Bangor, Northern Ireland, said 20% of their Christmas bookings did not turn up for their roast dinners on the big day

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Publican shows list of cancellations during December

The boss of a pub has hit out at customers who didn’t show up to Christmas bookings amid a torrid time for hospitality venues.

Owners of the Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro in Bangor, Northern Ireland, were left reeling after a fifth of its bookings didn’t materialise on Christmas Day.

Shortly after 4pm, with the Christmas lunch rush over, the venue tweeted out disappointment at those who had let them down.

“Thanks to the 20% of customers who didn’t turn up today and didn’t bother telling us (you lost your deposit and a delicious Christmas lunch) but we lost a lot more,” a tweet from the Salty Dog’s account read.

“But sure Hotels aren’t affected by government restrictions so we won’t be getting any help there either. We have never in 10 years had Christmas Day no shows.”

Do you work in the hospitality industry? Have you been affected by Omicron? Email [email protected]

The pub’s boss said the no shows missed a delicious Christmas lunch

While a restaurant four-fifths full might be okay in normal times, hospitality venues make a great deal of their yearly profit during the Christmas period.

That cash would have been particularly important this year as the spread of Omicron in December scared people away from Christmas parties, pub meet-ups and large dinners.

Those in charge of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants were braced for further restrictions to be announced yesterday and the inevitable impact that would’ve had on footfall over the New Year period.

Boris Johnson’s decision not to tighten measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus was therefore met positively by people working in the industry.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the decision to not go beyond Plan B measures in England presented a “lifeline” for the sector.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said there would “obviously be some relief” among hospitality bosses, but called for help to improve ventilation in venues along with “more clarity” on the Government’s long-term vision.

The Salty Dog is not the only venue to be suffering this festive period

The decision on restrictions, which came after the Prime Minister had been briefed on the latest Covid data by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, means nightclubs can remain open for Friday’s partying and there will be no limits on numbers in pubs.

Covid passes will be mandatory for large events, however, as per Plan B rules, which also includes work from home guidance and increased mask wearing in public places.

Conservative MPs who recently inflicted the largest rebellion of his premiership on Mr Johnson over the introduction of Covid passes were among those to welcome Monday’s announcement.

Former minister Mark Francois told GB News: “It is remarkable how a backbench rebellion of 101 MPs focuses minds, isn’t it?

“Let’s not be churlish, this is the right decision. At some point we have to trust people to exercise their nous and I believe that is the essence of the decision.”

The lack of new measures puts England out of kilter with the rest of the UK, with those in Wales and Scotland living with curbs on hospitality including the closure of nightclubs.

The threat of Omicron led many to stay away from public venues this year
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, speaking after Scottish government provisional data showed the Christmas period had seen the highest number of Covid-19 cases north of the border since the start of the pandemic, urged people to limit socialising in person “as much as possible”.

UK Government data also showed that a record was set in England on Christmas day in terms of recorded cases, with 113,628 infections reported on December 25.

NHS England declared there were 1,281 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the country on Christmas Day – up 74% week-on-week and the highest number since February 16.

It remains well below the second wave of the coronavirus peak, when admissions topped off at 4,134 on January 12.

A total of 8,474 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of 8am on December 27 – the highest number since March 5.

But that too is far lower than the last winter peak of 34,336 Covid patients in hospital, which occurred on January 18, with hopes growing Omicron will prove to be milder than previous virus variants.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England, said there had been a growing number of Covid hospital admissions but “not precipitately so”.

Trusts are not reporting large numbers of patients arriving with Covid-type breathing problems like last January, Mr Hopson added.

But he warned that a high number of staff absences in the NHS – with Omicron-enforced isolation seen as a major cause – are creating such pressures that “even relatively small numbers of extra Covid cases may bring difficult decisions”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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