Hospitality and entertainment companies in England want the government to be clearer on whether or not there will be more Covid restrictions this month. 

Firms say they are unsure about cancellations and how many temporary staff to employ due to the uncertainty.

Cabinet minister Stephen Barclay told the BBC government would say more about financial support for business leaders later today. 

No new measures were announced on Monday, but Boris Johnson said data was being reviewed “hour by hour”.

 

Shoppers fall

Meanwhile, retail parks saw a footfall rise of 5.5 percent last week, which is normally one of the busiest weeks before Christmas. 

Experts say after Plan B guidance including work from home “if you can” came into place, high streets saw a decline in footfall. This is usually also increased by office workers Christmas shopping during a break. 

In Central London it was -8.5 percent and outside the capital, it was -6.4 percent this weekend. 

 

Shop Local

However, the research from Springboard, which offers data analytics on retail and footfall, also said market towns generally saw a +3.4 percent rise, as people chose to shop local.  

Insights Director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, said this was to be expected due to the restrictions: “Despite the introduction of Plan B guidance to work from home and the significant rise in COVID infections, footfall rose last week across UK retail destinations. However, the growing nervousness of consumers meant that increases dwindled with each day that passed, and by Friday the uplift in footfall was around just a quarter of that on Wednesday.

 

Clarity

Entertainment and hospitality companies say they need to have clarity so they know whether to cancel events over the holiday period. The BBC reports decisions on whether there will be financial help and other information for the industries will be made and possibly announced today.

According to the Times newspaper, Jacob Rees Mogg – Leader of the House of Commons – said the government should allow people to make their own decisions to stay safe.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has insisted that holiday plans should be cancelled, with WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying: “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled.”

Parts of south-east England were banned from mixing with other households last Christmas and across the rest of England, Scotland and Wales, people had to socially distance themselves, except on Christmas Day when they were allowed to mix indoors.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said the pandemic could end next year – if 70 percent of the population of every country of the world was vaccinated by the middle of 2022.

 

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said he expected restrictions to increase: “Health leaders are not calling for further restrictions as they know these can be very damaging to people’s health and wellbeing but given the rising cases of coronavirus and the rapid spread of omicron, they feel it is now a question of when rather than if they will be needed.