Worries about a ‘lockdown by stealth’ for hospitality sector
December 18, 2021
In response to emails received overnight, Julian stands with the hospitality sector and calls for the end of mixed messages which is leading to a ‘lockdown by stealth’:
“I am hearing worrying reports from York of restaurants, pubs and bars seeing significant drops in custom last night compared to only a week ago. As York is a major tourist destination, I can only assume that the picture elsewhere is even more bleak.
With mixed messaging from the Government, I want to be clear that the impact experienced by our hospitality businesses is a de facto lockdown but without any additional support. The Government have caused this and I want them to put out a clear message to fix it as soon as possible.
From meeting with many hospitality businesses and from my own experience eating out in York, I know that our pubs, restaurants and bars have struck a sensible balance which protects both staff and customers while allowing for viable trade. Throughout the pandemic, hospitality has been used as an easy scapegoat for a significant source of outbreaks but with no data to back up claims there is any more risk than is associated with other venues.
The hospitality sector needs all the support we can offer them this Christmas ahead of the traditionally quieter period during January. I want to see an end to Whitehall leaks of plans for a trade crippling lockdown, which only damages confidence by spreading fear.
Current studies all caveat that omicron data is very limited and I would want to see more conclusive evidence before changing our current course of action. Time and again, modelling has proven inaccurate and I could not back any moves that will decimate the hospitality sector on limited statistics.
In positive news, we have now surpassed the 50% threshold for booster jabs and, with demand remaining high, this figure is only going to rocket in the next week. Each jab builds our levels of protection and should give us more confidence to learn to live with the virus.”