Covid: Can businesses survive another lost Christmas?

Covid: Can businesses survive another lost Christmas?

12/2/2021 2:18:00 AM

Covid: Can businesses survive another lost Christmas?

Businesses say they are desperate to stay open and keep safe this festive season.

Getty ImagesChristmas is usually the busiest time of year for shops, pubs and restaurants. With uncertainty over a new Covid variant, we asked businesses how they will cope if more restrictions are introduced over the next few weeks.On Tuesday thegovernment reintroduced mandatory face coverings

in shops and on public transport, but hospitality is currently exempt.Business owners in Whittlesey and Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, and Ipswich say they are reliant on a good Christmas trade but fear worries over the Omicron variant and the possibility of more restrictions is keeping customers away.

'It's our most important time'Image caption,Hayley Armstrong says trade has been down in storeHayley Armstrong owns the Little House of Fragrance in Whittlesey and says there are fewer people coming into the store."It has been quieter since Tuesday and for the last few weeks, it's not as busy as expected this time of year," she said.

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"It's our most important and busiest time. Online is definitely busier, people are still preferring to shop online."Ms Armstrong says she is happy to see face coverings being brought back but would feel uncomfortable asking customers about why they are not wearing one.

"I think we need to do it to keep everyone safe and keep shops open and trading as normal," she said. "It's really tricky, I would feel uncomfortable asking them to wear one."'Reservations have dropped massively'Image caption,

For Julien Jourdain, having Christmas parties go ahead is key for businessIn Ipswich, Julien Jourdain is hoping to have 6,000 people in his restaurants the Bistro on the Quay and Mariners Restaurant over the next three weeks, with lots of Christmas parties booked.

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"It's very, very important the Christmas parties go ahead this year," he said. "We very much depend on that to save countless jobs and to bounce back from the lockdowns and Covid."He said he was slightly worried about cancellations - this Saturday a table of 25 had cancelled over Covid cases within the party.

And if a new lockdown is imposed, he worries it could lead to job losses and financial struggles.For now, though, he is trying to stay positive and says he is operating in a safe way to protect staff and diners."Obviously [the uncertainty] is very, very worrying. We just need the big parties to make Christmas happen," he said.

Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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