Uncertainty over the Covid situation meant a miserable end to 2021 for hospitality business operators – and left them hoping of a far better new year.
The Prime Minister’s decision to leave it to individuals to decide whether to partake in parties and meals rather than bring in official restrictions, left many restaurants, cafes and bars facing severely reduced attendances and consequently takings.
Veil Kirk, owner-chef of the Anatolia Sea View restaurant in St Annes, reckoned he was around 60 per cent down on usual taking for the key period up to Christmas and New Year – and feels the support package pledged by the Government will make little difference to what continues to be a very worrying situation.
“I’ve never known anything like it in 30 years in the business,” said Veli. “At least during lockdown we knew where we stood, furlough was in place and a big help in being able to keep staff and we could look forward to better times when the pandemic was over.
Veli Kirk in his St Annes restaurant
“But those brighter days are just a memory now as we faced cancellations and a drastic reduction in business in what is traditionally our busiest time of year.
“The Government support offered is welcome, but it will make little difference. Calculated on rateable value, the most we would get is £4,000 and that wouldn’t cover half a month’s wages.”
The new package of support for business announced by the Chancellor includes new one-off grants of up to £6,000 for eligible businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, administered by local councils.
Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Council, said: “Fylde Council will be proud to provide crucial support to our local business owners.”