Published 13 December 2021
by Josh Barrie
And again, we find ourselves in a less than favourable position, writes Josh Barrie. Last week, the Government enacted its “Plan B”, which includes a series of new restrictions. “Masks back on, everyone, and work from home if you can.”
Boris Johnson moved in a not dissimilar fashion in March 2020, when he told people to not go out but didn’t force businesses to close. It left thousands of people wondering whether their livelihoods would survive. It also echoes the ‘pingdemic’ in the summer, when interventions were comparatively low but the landscape costly and challenging all the same.
December 2021 is not as extreme. We are all better versed in the comings and goings of the pandemic. Well, just about. Isn’t all this even more a reason for Johnson and co. to treat hospitality with a little more nuance?
Because again we are facing another drastic drop in customer confidence. While the measures imposed are minimal – for now – the impact is sizable, and venues are already suffering the effects. Analysts believe it’s going to cost hospitality £4bn.
Christmas party cancellations, especially large and lucrative corporate parties, are tough to take at any time, but for those with pandemic debt and rent arrears, the situation is worse still. Again, it would appear the Government fails to understand the industry – Christmas trade is when money is made, after all, and classically festive profits see businesses through the leaner months before Easter.
I’ve spoken to a lot of restaurateurs and publicans over the last seven days. All have seen numbers fall. It is no wonder then that many are now calling for financial support. It’s a much harder pitch this time around, but, for many, it is a necessary one to make all the same.