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Local News

Yorkshire bars, pubs and restaurants desperate for New Year’s Eve after Christmas bookings crashed


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Bars, pubs and restaurants are “desperate” for a New Year’s Eve boom in trade after Covid-19 wreaked havoc for the hospitality industry at Christmas.

A surge in Omicron cases saw the government urge people to “think carefully” before going to Christmas parties, which led to a wave of cancellations throughout December.

“Christmas was devastating for businesses all over,” said Maja Adam, manager of the Lindley Tap Bar and Grill in Huddersfield.

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“We had a lot of cancellations. We are close to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and all their parties were massively reduced or cancelled, understandably.”

Mark Hobson, managing director of Corporation in Sheffield, added: “We were probably 50 per cent down – and that isn’t even taking into account cancellations either.”

Mark Hobson said cancellations massively impacted business at Corporation in Sheffield
Mark Hobson said cancellations massively impacted business at Corporation in Sheffield

Sally Dunn, the owner of The Biltmore Bar and Grill in York, said 80 per cent of their bookings were cancelled in late December.

“The government basically just cancelled Christmas,” she said.

“We lost all of our corporate functions. It was devastating.

“It was all in the last two weeks of December and people were frightened to go out. We definitely felt the effect. We don’t know anyone who didn’t.”

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On December 27, the government revealed New Year’s Eve celebrations could go ahead as planned.

For an industry that has seen devastating losses for almost two years, the reprieve offers a brief glimmer of hope.

“We are looking forward to New Year’s Eve,” said Maja.

“Since Christmas, it has already been a lot busier. Business has doubled compared to the week before Christmas.”

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Sheffield city centre nightclub Corporation has already seen an influx of bookings for its New Year’s Eve party since the announcement.

“I’m jolly happy that restrictions didn’t come in,” said the owner, Mark.

“We are very desperate for a big party, certainly from a financial point of view.”

However, Sally said that many customers may still have lingering doubts on New Year’s Eve.

While it has been confirmed that New Year’s Eve parties can go ahead, the government is still urging people to be cautious.

Boris Johnson has told people to celebrate "sensibly and cautiously" on New Year's Eve
Boris Johnson has told people to celebrate “sensibly and cautiously” on New Year’s Eve

Sally wants more support for the hospitality sector as a whole.

“I don’t think New Year’s Eve will be normal,” she said.

“We were doing very nicely for bookings until the messages came out to be careful. I am sure we will fill up the restaurant, but you just don’t know where you are.

“Christmas Eve was just like a ghost town in York. It was so quiet on Boxing Day too.

“You get the diehard people who come out whatever, but you get a lot more people who have made alternative plans to stay at home.”

Speaking ahead of New Year’s Eve, prime minister Boris Johnson urged the nation to celebrate in smaller groups.

He said: “I think everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way.

“Take a test, ventilation, think about others – but above all, get a booster.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News

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