Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge gave people a stark insight into the challenges facing the hospitality industry this Christmas as he showed how cancellations are flooding in as omicron variant fears continue.
The Michelin-starred chef, who owns restaurants in London, Marlow, and Manchester, posted videos showing that more than 650 guests have cancelled their reservations at just one of his restaurants in the last six days.
He said that public health should be a priority, but warned that without government support, many hospitality businesses are going to “crumble”.
Here we are… This is the list of cancellations taken in one of our restaurants in the past six days… 654 guests
I u… https://t.co/aqHuDjKX2D
These restrictions will see the return of working from home and mandatory mask-wearing in indoor venues such as cinemas, theatres, and places of worship, but masks are not yet required in pubs and restaurants. Exemptions include when people are eating, drinking, exercising or singing.
As of today, prospective revellers will need to show an NHS Covid Pass when going to nightclubs and other large venues. The pass can be obtained via the NHS app by having two vaccines or a negative lateral flow test.
City Pub Company boss Clive Watson told the BBC that “Christmas is a key time” for the industry, with the chain making a third of its annual profits in December.
Watson fears that pubs could “run out of cash” unless the government offers extra help.
Taking to Twitter, First Dates host Fred Sirieix said: “The tsunami of cancellations in #hospitality is going to be catastrophic for the industry. Staff will lose their job and income between now and January without any hope of getting a new one. Not only that but I fear this will increase the staff shortage even further.”
He added: “As many people will most probably be deterred from (re)entering the industry after such difficulties. People need certainty in order to pay their mortgage and look after their family. Currently this is not the case. What a Christmas!”
As many people will most probably be deterred from (re)entering the industry after such difficulties. People need c… https://t.co/s8Z6BsBMIn
The live music industry has also been hit, with a 40 per cent fall in gig attendees “decimating the whole industry”. According to NME, Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd is calling for “decisive and immediate action”, such as the cancellation of the VAT changes and the suspension of business rates.