More help is needed by businesses to get it.

Beth Timmins
BBC News Business Reporter

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Image source, Vicki Wilkes
Image caption

Vicki Wilkes stated that she would lose thousands of dollars due to cancelations

Vicki Wilkes from Red by Night Live Entertainment in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands said that businesses are in serious trouble right now.

According to her, it is “soul-destroying.”

The Omicron variant is being tackled with new restrictions, such as increased Covid pass usage and the return to working at home.

This has led to increased government support for businesses.

Covid cards, which prove vaccination status, are required in order to enter nightclubs or large venues such as Ms Wilkes’ starting next week. This is part of the “Plan B” rules that limit the spread.

She said that the change would be devastating for her company and that there was not enough economic guidance or support from government.

She said, “No one wants Omicron spread.” However Plan B felt knee-jerky and reactionary.

  • Before Omicron, economic growth slows down
  • What will Plan B do for the economy?
  • Which are the UK’s new Covid regulations?

We had been relying on December for our survival, but this loss may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Because of new restrictions, she’s about to cancel her family’s Christmas party at the below-500 capacity venue. She stated that this would result in several thousand dollars of revenue lost.

Calls for tax cuts

Shevaun Haviland from British Chambers of Commerce, who was a director of the British Chambers of Commerce, echoed her call for assistance. Shevaun warned that hospitality and retail businesses were most vulnerable to new measures but they aren’t being given enough support by government.

Ms Haviland contacted the chancellor in order to ask for a reduced rate of VAT (5%) for hotels and tourist businesses. Also, for 100% tax relief for retailers, as well as grant funding for firms that are most affected.

She said, “It’s simply not acceptable for the government at this point to state that enough support has been given” and then leave it at that.

She said that retail, events, and hospitality companies had worked hard to reach this point but are now facing “impossible circumstances during the crucial holiday period” because of no one’s fault.

BBC requested a reply from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

‘Terrible situation’

Dave Critchley is the executive chef at Lu Ban in Liverpool and has been subject to a series of cancellations following government announcements.

He said, “We are back to these uncertain times and feel that we are once more back in this horrible situation.”

Critchley said that the restrictions are causing concern in the public and will have an “intense” effect on the hospitality sector.

It’s more than just the bars and restaurants. The staff must be happy, as well as their mental health and stress levels. Are there enough hours available to compensate them for Christmas fun?

‘Unnerving’

Alice Cassinelli, the 25-year-old owner of Dysh café in Sheffield, has also already seen cancellations and a fall in walk-in customers.

She stated that the drop in trade was “definitely unnerving” to BBC.

Two years ago she opened Cassinellis’s, her first cafe in Sheffield’s centre. But lockdown forced her to shut down because there was no trade left as workers moved out of the city.

She said, “We have just begun to heal and that worked, but we are now in the middle stage which is difficult as we don’t have any support to continue.”

Although she believes that social distancing will make customers feel more secure, it could discourage them.

Waste wholesale

Federations of Wholesale Distributors warned that the restrictions could lead to wasted food or drink.

James Bielby, Chief Executive of FWD said that warehouses across the nation are full with Christmas stock for the hospitality industry.

It’s impossible to repurpose fresh food at such short notice. Fresh food can also be sensitive to temperature and time.

He stated that wholesalers would have to pay the wastage cost bill. This is because they were previously exempted from the supermarket business rate relief and grants to retail, leisure and hospitality firms.

Footfall in the City

Chairman of the chain of shoe-repair and key-cutting shops, Sir John Timpson warned of dangers to the survival city center businesses were facing from the government’s guidance at home.

Sir John stated to the BBC that Omicron’s arrival had caused a drop of 5% in business during the past few weeks. He also said that that this could turn into a 10% decline by the New Year. People normally return to work following a Christmas break but might now choose to stay home.

“Once you get past Christmas, we’re going to see that city centre business go back to what they were in March 2020 at the start of the Covid issue,” he stated.

And this will keep going on and on. He said that there will be many more variations.

It could lead to businesses closing down, he said.

“The infrastructure supporting office life in London but also Birmingham and Glasgow, Leeds, as well as many other locations, won’t be available to people who return to work when they do.”

Source: BBC.com

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