Salisbury BID says the pressure is on for Salisbury’s hospitality businesses with the UK hospitality sector bracing itself for a £4bn hit in festive sales after the announcement of new COVID-19 guidance and fears over the spread of the Omicron variant.
Salisbury BID is calling on the Government to issue urgent financial support to soften the blow to Christmas trading. It is a message that has already been backed by British BIDs, The BID Foundation, Night Time Industries Association and the Association of Town and City Management who together collectively represent over 100,000 hospitality businesses.
Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality said, “The measures announced will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues. As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year.
“We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”
Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury BID, commented, “Christmas is an extremely vital time for our hospitality businesses and the loss of income affects jobs, venues and the local economy as a whole. The Government must meet businesses halfway and introduce a financial package that will give them the support needed to get them through the next few months. Without it, our hard-working hospitality sector could be left devastated.”
Salisbury businesses are already feeling the impact of new Covid guidance, with the Old Ale and Coffee House just one of the venues seeing a flurry of last-minute cancellations.
Shane O’Neill, owner of the Old Ale and Coffee House and new Salisbury BID Director, said, “We have already seen a big impact from new guidance issued by the Government. About 40% of our bookings have been cancelled and consumer confidence has been hit. It is time the Government acknowledged the diminishing figures and got behind us by offering much needed financial support.
“Over the last 18 months, all hospitality businesses have invested great time and money on making sure premises are Covid secure and safe, including ourselves. We would urge people to come out and support us still. We are open!”
With just over a week until Christmas and the unknown of what the New Year may hold, Salisbury BID says the support of the local community and businesses has never been more important.