Pressure Grows On Local Hospitality Businesses

The pressure is on for Salisbury hospitality operators who have now been open a week following four weeks of lockdown

Under the Tier 2 category, venues can stay open until 11 pm, with last orders at 10 pm. Only those pubs that serve substantial meals can operate and only families in a bubble will be able to sit inside together.

It has been a very tough year for hospitality, with businesses hit by rolling restrictions including two lockdowns, social distancing rules and now new tier regulations.

According to UKHospitality, 98% of the country’s hospitality trade are now in Tiers 2 and 3. Should the restrictions last the entire month of December, an estimated £7.8 billion worth of trading is set to be wiped out, compared to 2019.

Hospitality businesses have invested great time and money on making sure the premises are Covid secure and safe for people to celebrate Christmas and New Year. In Salisbury, the City Council, Police, Wiltshire Council and Salisbury BID – have been working together to support the night-time economy in a Purple Flag CovidSecure partnership to avoid issues that have been widely reported in the national media around dispersal.

Salisbury City Council Leader, Cllr Liz Sirman, said:

“The Council City is pleased to be working in close partnership with the BID, Pubwatch and key Salisbury pubs and restaurant representatives to ensure we can have a safe and enjoyable Christmas in Salisbury. Our local hospitality venues have put in a lot of work so that we can go out and enjoy ourselves over the festive period. Please remember to book ahead, think about going out during the week and not just on Fri and at the weekends, and importantly let’s make sure we support our local business”.

The stark warning from hospitality venues is that, despite the £1,000 grant for wet-led pubs and furlough for staff, they may not be here next year. There are ways we can support our Salisbury venues though, including:

1. Customers – please stick to social distancing rules, wear a mask and remember to wash your hands

2. Bookings – many businesses are back open throughout the week, so, why not have a Christmas outing on one of the quieter evenings such as a Tuesday or Wednesday. Or book for lunch rather than dinner. By spreading footfall across the week, it not only helps our local hospitality sector but also keeps the community safe and avoids weekend crowding

3. No ‘No Shows’ – please, if you don’t want your booking any more, cancel with the venue. No shows waste time and money and deny someone else a night out – and it’s devastating for the staff

4. Patience and Kindness – please be patient with staff. Everyone is doing their best to adapt to new restrictions but, together, we can support each other through

Inspector Pete Sparrow, from the Salisbury Area Community Policing Team, said:

“It is vital to remember that we need to continue to be aware of COVID-19 and ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our communities safe this Christmas.

“Wiltshire has been placed in Tier 2, and I would urge everyone to make sure they understand the Government’s new restrictions that came into place last week.

“Across Salisbury and the surrounding area there are many people working hard to keep everyone safe, not just medical staff and emergency services, but all the shop workers, taxi drivers and hospitality staff who will be following the Government guidance.

“If you are visiting Salisbury over the festive period, please plan your days and evenings out by booking in advance where possible and at all times be respectful to those who are trying to make this very different Christmas remembered for the right reasons.”

A new business confidence survey from CGA and Fourth found that while leaders showed an increase in optimism about their own businesses, fewer than 18% were optimistic about the hospitality market as a whole over the next 12 months. The coronavirus pandemic really has taken a huge toll on hospitality operators this year, but with the support of the community, Salisbury venues can survive.

“My heart goes out to all the licensees and their staff this Christmas”, said Amanda Newbery, co-owner of The Chapel, Salisbury.

“It’s usually a time for general celebration as well as filling the bank accounts a little in preparation for January and February.

“It’s such a strange feeling out there with decorations up in the streets and not very many people. I would urge families to come and support their local restaurant or pub – and friends who want to meet up should book outdoor tables and wrap up warm and enjoy the run up to Christmas but in a little bit of a different way.”

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