Following the advent of the Omicron variant, Liverpool’s restaurants and bars have been shaken by what it could mean for the hospitality industry this Christmas.
Several companies have already seen cancellations from large office parties, although ministers have said the cancellations are not justified and that there are no rules about parties at the moment.
Some members of the hospitality industry are concerned about what potential additional restrictions may mean for them and their business
READ MORE:Liverpool restaurants are losing festive reservations as fears of covid grow
Eddie Kilty, a private chef who has worked with TV’s Tom Kerridge, has said his concerns about the new variant, meaning “potentially more restrictions”, would be “devastating” to his company Kilty and Co.
Eddie recently started a pop-up restaurant at the Neighborhood Cafe in Woolton, he said: “My concerns are that we are going into yet another lockdown or stricter restrictions.
“I have reservations throughout December and January, so if this is the case, it will greatly affect me as a small business, it will be all my potential income for the missing Christmas period.
“By making popups this month, I have already lost a number of guests due to the fact that themselves or the people they live with have tested positive and they have had to isolate themselves, which is a loss of revenue. . “
He added: “People are becoming more vigilant, guests at my private dining want to know if I, and my staff, have recent negative tests or have been double-vaccinated.
“People who work with me take regular lateral flow tests to ensure the safety of the team and my guests.”
Eddie told ECHO: “I have friends in the industry, companies are also canceling Christmas parties because of concerns about this new variant.
“It’s pretty worrying from a staff perspective, because it’s just me, so if I contract it, it’s game against my company until I’m able to get out of isolation again.”
Vahid Nagori, spokesman for EastZEast – Punjabi restaurant, Kings Dock Liverpool, said: ” There is confusion and hesitation among people for the Christmas parties and I think people are going to wait until the last minute to order.
“ We have had some calls from EastZEast to put the reservations on hold, they are in doubt. ”
Vahid, who owns a sustainable and recyclable packaging business, added: ” With regard to Green Bell Packaging, companies are considering placing orders due to uncertainty surrounding the new variant.
“ It looks like business will be very low in December and start operating again in the new year when we start to get out of the winter month. ”
Melissa Flynn, bar and event manager for Norris Green’s Western Approaches pub, said: “We’ve found that since the news broke, people are more reluctant to come out.
“Derby Day is usually a guaranteed full pub, yet I found out that last night was the worst derby day we’ve had.
“We pay attention to ordering stock in case we get stuck with it like last year, we have arranged events that are usually sold out every year and which take longer to sell as people are obviously scared.”
Melissa told ECHO: “Currently, we do small pop-up stores every Thursday here to try to encourage people to buy from local and small businesses that have been hit by the pandemic instead of the big stores.
“Normally we are well prepared to procure all the stocks for the party, but this year we are literally buying this year with the fear of yet another closure.
“We do not cook, so we have not been affected in that way. However, we have been affected by our Christmas event sales.
“We have had people return tickets to events as they fear an impending shutdown, we have received several messages asking what covid precautions are in place in terms of number of seats, etc.”
She added: “We are usually well sold out for events like New Year’s Eve, Boxing Night and the kids’ Christmas Eve party, but I think people are a little scared now with this news.
“People are leaving it to the last minute to see how it plays out, especially after they put us in the lockdown on New Year’s Eve last year.
“People do not want to waste money and end up losing at the last minute again.”
Although little is known about the new variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on its website: “Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the results of these studies. as they become available.
“There is currently no information to suggest that the symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those of other variants.”
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