Lib Dems call for hospitality summit amid “unprecedented” level of Christmas cancellations

Daisy Cooper and Sarah Olney have joined with Paul Scully Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam in a letter to the government calling for urgent support for hospitality firms impacted by plan B measures.

Concern has been mounting in pubs and restaurants in city centres about a drop off in trade during what is usually their busiest time of year after Boris Johnson issued new work-from-home guidance. The MPs say hospitality businesses are experiencing “unprecedented rates of booking cancellations” this Christmas.

The letter is reported by City AM. The MPs say:

We need an urgent hospitality summit to bring together representatives from hospitality, leisure and the supply chains with hospitality workers and government, to put in place an emergency plan to save our pubs, restaurants, hotels and nightlife from collapse.

Firms have already paid for stock for the Christmas period in the wake of supply chain disruptions, the MPs said.

Much of this can’t be stored for the future, and even the small proportion that can [be stored] will cause immediate cash flow disruption in already struggling businesses…

The sector has been dealt another hammer blow with no prospect of support in the pipeline.

They also express concerns that those venues that will be required to use a Covid passport system will incur extra staffing costs and that hospitality workers may be “left in dire financial straits” if their hours are cut.

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  • John Marriott 11th Dec '21 - 7:57am

    @Geoffrey Payne
    I tend to agree with you. However, selfishly, my wife and I just hope we shall still be able to spend Christmas Day in our family bubble (four grandparents plus son, daughter in law and two grandchildren).

  • David Goble 11th Dec '21 - 9:36am

    Perhaps a re-purposed furlough scheme is necessary?

  • Martin Frost 11th Dec '21 - 9:41am

    The way to support the hospitality sector is to stop scapegoating them for the spread of Covid. It was not the case before and it isn’t so now. If Omicron is as virulent as some reports suggest, it will not be stopped by lockdowns or even slowed down by a significant enough amount to make a difference. It is time for a rethink.

  • John Marriott 11th Dec '21 - 11:34am

    Talking of ‘hospitality’, I’ve just read a report of recent incidents in a London theatre, where performances had to be suspended while over boisterous audience members were ejected. Over reliance on booze to make a profit, whether in a theatre or at a sporting venue is surely not a good thing. Alcohol is, after all, just another ‘mood altering’ substance and yet its consumption is being encouraged because it’s legal.

    Hospitality = hostility? Be careful what you wish for. Cheers!

  • Martin Frost 11th Dec ’21 – 9:41am:
    The way to support the hospitality sector is to stop scapegoating them for the spread of Covid.

    Data from the Oslo Louise Restaurant party event shows that the hospitality sector does contribute to the spread of Covid. However, it also shows that the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine provides little protection against infection with the Omicron variant. All 111 participants were double-vaccinated and tested negative by PCR or antigen test prior to the event, yet 80 became infected…

    ‘Preliminary findings from study after Christmas party in Oslo’ [9th. December 2021]:

    As of 8 December, around 70 % of just over 100 participants at a Christmas party held on 26 November at a restaurant in Oslo have been subsequently diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2. Of those who are infected, 17 are confirmed as being infected with the omicron variant. It is assumed that the majority of cases without sequencing results available at this time are also infected with the same variant. In addition, more than 60 people who visited the restaurant the same evening as the Christmas party have been confirmed as infected with SARS-CoV-2.

    If Omicron is as virulent as some reports suggest, it will not be stopped by lockdowns or even slowed down by a significant enough amount to make a difference.

    Indeed, closing pubs and clubs and imposing vaccine passports are likely to be futile gestures: within a few weeks the vast majority of the population will have been exposed to Omicron anyway. The UK is in a strong position with a high level of immunity against severe illness both from vaccination and previous infection. We do need to ensure that the clinical vulnerable are able to shield while this wave passes through the population. AstraZeneca’s Evushield Pre-Exposure Prophylactic (PrEP) may be of help here if approved. Hopefully, this “far milder” Omicron variant will build more community immunity.

    ‘Good fortune with omicron’ [11th. December 2021]:

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