Third pub, pubs and clubs could shut down by NYE: Hospitality chiefs demand CLARITY from ministers over Covid restrictions – as industry faces ‘catastrophic Christmas’ claims for financial support
- Hospitality industry faces ‘catastrophic birthday’ and chiefs demand financial support
- Peter Marks, CEO of REKOM, said running a nightclub has been “really tough” amid the pandemic.
- The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says places have lost £46,000 per unit in sales this Christmas.
A third of bars, pubs and clubs could close by New Year’s Eve as hospitality chiefs demand clarification from ministers on Covid-19 restrictions.
The industry is facing a “disastrous Christmas” and chiefs have demanded financial support amid the rise of the Omicron variable.
Peter Marks, CEO of REKOM, said the Today program on BBC Radio 4 who runs a nightclub was “really tough” and called on ministers to cut VAT to enter the venue.
“If we have restrictions, we need money to survive,” he added.
A Night Industry Association (NTIA) survey of more than five hundred nightclubs, bars, pubs and hospitality venues today shows that the sector is facing a “catastrophic Christmas”.
A fifth of nightlife companies could lose their entire workforce, and a third fear closing within a month without urgent government support following new Covid restrictions and omicron uncertainty.
On average, night economy venues lost £46,000 per unit in lost sales and cancellations over the holiday period.
London streets were left empty as Britons stayed home amid the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron
The Duchess of Cambridge’s pub is very quiet in Windsor today as people continue to stay home
More than half of the companies required to file a Covid certificate to enter their premises report a 40 per cent drop in turnout.
Half of all businesses in the night economy would have to cut more than half of the jobs in their workforce if the government did not provide proportionate financial support.
Mr Marks added: ‘We can’t say to what extent the deflation problem we’ve had in the past few days has to do with vaccine passports and whether it’s about fear of going out. What I can tell you is that we are down 40 percent in a period of time which is critical to us as a company, starting next weekend and we think very well that we are probably fine until Christmas now even though we’re zigzagging but maybe not even as we open New Year’s Eve which is worth about 8-10 percent of our annual profits.
He said RICOM employees are on the alert, without clarifying whether nightclubs will open after Christmas.
“Inventory is another thing,” he added. Do you order ready-made stock on New Years Eve and suddenly find it’s just sitting in the basement because you’re closed? It is impossible to plan it.
Packed sidewalks: Many were thought to be staying home due to concerns about the new alternative but hundreds of Regent Street crowded with last minute shopping on Christmas afternoon
We need help and the best thing you can do for nightclubs is to include admission at the door in the reduced VAT status you gave to bars and restaurants selling food and that encouraged them to stay there. This is a very easy way that you can target and help nightclubs and live music venues. It needs a date.
Michael Keel, chief executive of NTIA, said: “It really is a frightening prospect of seeing so many places in our sector left to bleed, with shutdowns in everything but name and absolutely no recognition from the government.
These places have had more than twenty months of financial difficulty and the period of Christmas trading has been integral to keeping the remaining businesses afloat in the coming year.
If more restrictions are to be implemented, the chancellor must step in and acknowledge the massive damage that waves of cancellations are causing, spurred by mixed government messaging, resource-intensive Covid protocols and already costly restrictions.
The government had twenty months to figure out how our sector would operate; Beggars think we are standing here again, as if in March 2020, we are pleading with the government to listen to us, to understand how businesses operate and to realize that inaction is the death penalty for our industry. It really is a disastrous Christmas.
Sacha Lord, night economics consultant for Greater Manchester, said: “While these latest statistics are shocking and disturbing, it should not have been a surprise. The industry has been unanimously calling on the chancellor for support and leadership. So far, our calls have fallen on deaf ears and for some, it is too late. Indeed.If the UK’s fifth largest industry has any hope of survival, it must urgently advance.