Liverpool’s bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues are calling for more clarity and support from the Government following a drop in consumer confidence after the Prime Minister announced the move to Plan B COVID-19 restrictions in England.
Bookings have been cancelled across the city, midweek trade is “virtually non-existent” and revenues are expected to be hit by a 40% decrease over Christmas.
Unions are calling for support packages to be brought forward urgently amid an increase in Omicron cases and Government advice to curb nights out.
England’s chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty has advised people to consider cutting back socialising around the festive period, whilst Boris Johnson said people should “think carefully” before going out and celebrating.
What’s been said
Kier Smith, Business Development Manager for city centre bar Tres and iSTAY Liverpool, said: "There's a WhatsApp group that was set up during the last lockdown. There's currently around two hundred people in it, all sales managers and business development managers at various hospitality venues in the city centre.
“Every venue has had cancellations. A lot of them are saying that the midweek trade is virtually non-existent, which is obviously a big downer for everyone who'd geared up for a big December considering last year we didn't have Christmas parties."
Demand for action from the hospitality industry
Unions such as Unite are calling for immediate support for workers in the hospitality and entertainment industries.
Businesses in the sector typically make 50% of their entire income in December alone. One hospitality industry body reported they expect December takings to be down by 40%.
Although the Prime Minister has not announced any additional restrictions on hospitality venues, the damage to consumer confidence as Omicron cases spread has greatly damaged the sector.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "The government must bring forward a package of support for hospitality workers today.
“The uncertainty the Prime Minister is causing is devastating – workers don't know if they will even have a job to go to next week. This is an appalling position to put people in.
"Hospitality workers did not cause this crisis, and they should not be the ones who pay for it. They still have rent to find and bills to pay but are seeing their incomes disappear before their eyes. They need help now."