Hospitality industry being ‘sacrificed’ to save the NHS, say restaurant bosses

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Rhys Roberts, of Visit Devon, said this is the worst crisis he has known in his 30-year career and scores of venues are facing thousands of cancellations because of Omicron

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Publican shows list of cancellations during December

The hospitality industry is being sacrificed to save the NHS, bosses claimed.

In the Westcountry, Christmas cancellation rates are said to be as high as 50% because of the fears surrounding the Omicron variant.

Rhys Roberts, of Visit Devon, said this is the worst crisis he has known in his 30 year career. He said Christmas cancellation rates are said to be running at between 13-15% nationally but he said:”That is not what I am being told,

The current levels are running at between 40% and 50% and that is simply not sustainable.”

Charles Lloyd runs the Mount Pleasant Inn in Nomansland, Devon, and he said:”We are almost being treated as if we are the acceptable collateral damage in trying to save the NHS.

One of four venues owned by Tim Foster and his partners which has been hit by cancellations
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“There is no clear message coming out of the Government. There is no offer of assistance, especially financial assistance when it is obvious pubs are hurting.”

At the Hartnoll Hotel in Tiverton, Devon, they have had 200 cancellations already and if that trend continues then 10 staff face losing their jobs.

Shane Naylor, general manager, said they had sold out their three day Christmas package and were fully booked.

But now they are down to around 40% because of cancellations.

He said: ”People are constantly cancelling and cancelling because they are unsure of what to do.”

The Mirror told streets across the UK have been left eerily quiet just a week before Christmas as Brits try to save the big day from Omicron.

On what is usually one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year, footfall appears to have slumped as people desperately try to avoid having to isolate with Covid over the festive period.

The Somers Town Coffee House
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The UK’s total number of daily Covid cases sky-rocketed to 93,045 on Saturday – up 60% on last week – with London proving to be the hotspot for the Covid variant.

Around a quarter of cases recorded in the past 24 hours were in London, with the infection rate having risen fivefold since Omicron was first identified.

Hospitality operators bearing the brunt of deserted High Streets which are also impacting their businesses.

The extent of cancellations is badly affecting restaurants and bars in the hospitality industry.

A publican has shared a video showing thousands of covid cancellations during the traditionally busy festive December period.

Tim Foster, 44, owns four pubs with business partners Jason Rowlands, 41 and Anthony Pender, 39.

He shared his distress as he posted a video online showing row after row of Christmas and dinner bookings with ‘cancelled’ next to them – and said almost 4,000 people were now not going to show up.

The cancellation list prompted by the rise in Omicron
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And furious Tim slammed the government for suggesting new restrictions while not offering any support to businesses.

Tim, whose main pub is the Somers Town Coffee House near Euston, London, said: “The cancellations are across all four pubs, but driven by The Somers Town Coffee House, with 3,836 guests cancelling since Boris made the announcements last week.

“It’s a problem that simply shouldn’t exist – the support should have been announced with the restrictions and messaging from public health & government.

“It’s just ludicrous to say work from home, but head out to office parties.”

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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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