Published 20 December 2021
by Adam Hyman & Josh Barrie
Adam Hyman: Hello, Mr Barrie. I hope you had a good weekend? Like much of the country, a large chunk of mine was cancelled thanks to Omicrom – people either self-isolating or laying low as to not ruin Christmas. You know things are quiet when you can walk into Royal China on Baker Street and get a table at 2pm on a Sunday. Sadly this isn’t the end of the year we all hoped for and yet again hospitality is bearing the brunt of it all.
Joshua Barrie: Hi there. I’ve managed to avoid Omicron (so far), so my weekend wasn’t bad, despite the situation we find ourselves in. But it is such a shame for the thousands of hospitality businesses up and down the country that have had their busiest weeks of the year ruined. Once again the sector has been left in limbo by the Treasury. I find it amazing that none of this was pre-empted by the Government? Have we not learned anything from the past 21-months?
AH: It appears not! And the more this goes on the more it feels like they don’t really care about our industry. The weekend papers were talking about a possible circuit breaker from 27 December. It would mean a return to outdoor only socialising. I’m not sure about you Josh, but sitting outside in the depths of winter isn’t really that appealing. Plus, this is only a week away… do they not realise businesses need to plan?
JB: I’ve got my thermals at the ready but let’s not forget outdoor hospitality is only viable for a small percentage of operators. The majority will have to remain closed. We must expect a statement from Rishi Sunak this week – hopefully today – with a package of support. If this circuit breaker is to go ahead they must bring back furlough too.
AH: We like to be optimistic at CODE HQ but this does feel a little Groundhog Day circa March 2020. I thought vaccinations were the way out of this mess but if we end up practically locking down every time we experience a new variant, our industry will end up with nobody investing, and even fewer young people willing to get involved. Still, we must continue to put our best foot forward, we’re a resilient bunch!
JB: This is true – we have to keep fighting the fight. There has to come a point where we learn to live with this.
AH: Absolutely. Anyway, for now, all we can do is try to enjoy Christmas. I hope you and all our CODE readers manage to have a lovely one and can enjoy it. Whatever the situation come 2022, we’ll be back on Tuesday 4 January with an update on the latest hospitality news.
JB: Yes, this is our last Bulletin of the year, so I want to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. If, like me, you still need to get some last minute gifts, we have our CODE membership gifting available here.