Bristol hoteliers say people can still party with confidence this Christmas despite the implementation of ‘Plan B’ measures in the wake of the growing Omicron threat.
In announcing a new ‘work from home if you can’ directive this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked if people should cancel their Christmas party plans and he said no.
The Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) is hoping people will still choose to use hotels and restaurants for their festive celebrations, which will bring a much-needed boost to their businesses.
BHA Chairman Raphael Herzog said people should feel confident about booking Christmas parties at hotels and should be reassured that they will be as safe as possible.
He said: ““We have all invested significantly in making sure our premises are as Covid-safe as they can possibly be.
“It’s safer to stay in a hotel having a drink at a table, with dinner served, than it is visiting a shopping mall or a grocery store.
“It’s safer for people to socialise in Covid-secure hotels and restaurants rather than have parties in their own flats, houses or gardens, which is what we are afraid people will choose to do now that they have been asked to work from home wherever possible.
“It’s one thing for the Prime Minister to say people should not cancel their parties, but we would like the government to go further, and to emphasise just how much time and money has been spent by hospitality businesses in creating safe environments.
“As soon as the new Omicron variant started to spread, it was noticeable how cautious people were being with booking events for Christmas.
“Even bookings for people to get away as a couple was much slower than we had anticipated.
“Corporate events were not being booked at anything like pre-pandemic levels and lots of events that were booked have been cancelled, as companies are worried about being see to be putting staff at risk.
“The significant loss of the trade we were hoping for this Christmas will be another blow to our sector, so I would urge people to think again and support the hospitality sector by booking parties and hotel stays.
“We put the safety of everyone who visits, stays at or works at our premises as the highest priority.
“Our premises are at least as safe – if not much safer – than many others, so we would urge people not to cancel their Christmas plans.”
He warned that any further restrictions would be a ‘massive blow’ to the industry.
He said: “As well as some Christmas functions being cancelled, we’re also aware of many companies having second thoughts about booking events for the first few months of next year, and we would urge them to re-consider, as our hotels are as safe as they can possibly be.
“We need support, not only from the Government, but from other companies and customers to help with our long-term recovery from the impact of the pandemic.”