On Christmas Day takings were down 60% compared to 2019, new figures from
industry body UKHospitality show.
The findings demonstrate how the industry’s fight to recover from the pandemic has been decimated by Omicron. In the weeks prior to the new variant emerging, average sales had been close to pre-pandemic levels (98%).
However, city centre and London venues have been hit particularly hard by the new work from home restrictions, the drop in consumer confidence, and footfall. With December usually equal to three months’ worth of trading, this is pushes back recovery by at least a the same amount of time – and not just for the sector but for the whole country, as the latest ONS figures show growth in Q3 was driven by hospitality.
UKHospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, said: “Hospitality businesses have been hit hard during a key trading period – and this after missing out on the crucial Christmas and New Year sales last year.
“Restrictions must be kept to a minimum and must be lifted as quickly as possible to help an already beleaguered sector or many will simply not survive – and those who do make it through face a return to 20% VAT in April.
“In order to help the industry recover and return to growth, the Government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% and offering enhanced rates relief. Further support will also be needed should additional restrictions be imposed or the tougher measures in Scotland and Wales be retained into 2022.”