‘Hospitality is the victim’ of Gov’s indecision

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Trade requirements: operator of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk Brendan Padfield calls for clarity, certainty and reassurance from the Government
Trade requirements: operator of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk Brendan Padfield calls for clarity, certainty and reassurance from the Government

Related tags Gastropub Legislation Government Suffolk

The UK Government’s response to the Omicron Covid variant has been a “fiasco” that has undermined customer confidence and victimised hospitality, said the owner of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk.

Trade is down by 50% at the gastropub, which owner Brendan Padfield believed could be attributed to the Government’s indecision concerning the Omicron Covid variant. 

Padfield said: “[The] Government should make their minds up, be certain, and not lurch from crisis to crisis, and not make rash statements that completely undermine confidence in the sector.  

“We have fewer bookings this week than we did in the same week last year when there were no vaccinations about, and that's a product of the imbecility of the Prime Minister, the lack of direction and the wobble on strategy.” 

Padfield believed what was occurring was a lockdown by stealth, when in truth, a lockdown might be better as then the industry would get some Government support. 

Hospitality is the victim

“What the Government are doing here is two-faced. Yet again, they're hitting hospitality as an easy target. Yet again, they're hitting the third largest employer by sector in the country,” said Padfield. 

He continued: “The whole thing is a fiasco and the collective result of bad leadership, of indecision and of the undermining of public confidence in this Government and in this Prime Minister.  

“There is no doubt about whether they know what they're doing has fundamentally undermined public confidence, and hospitality is the victim.” 

This is because the public had lost trust in the Government’s words and actions, and due to the overwhelming uncertainty, opted to stay safe and inside rather than venture out, despite hospitality being “one of the safest sectors to work in”. 

‘Freedom Day’ never happened at the Unruly Pig, with staff and customers continuing to wear masks. The pub also takes temperatures, exercises social distancing, serves customers at tables and has installed an air exchange system to ensue a fresh flow of constant air. 

Utter confusion

For Padfield, this makes the pub one of the safest places around. “Yet,” he continued, “it is the Government’s indecision borne by a leader who doesn't know how to lead, that has caused this utter confusion and collapse in confidence.” 

While Padfield agreed the Omicron was a strain of concern, mass vaccinations and the enhanced booster programme meant it was not one of undue concern. 

“The great British public should then apply their famous common sense and say, look, we're treble boosted. Hospitality is a safe place to be, and the Unruly Pig is particularly safe for the reasons I've identified. We've just got to get on with our lives and get used to living with Covid.  

“However, part of making that happen is in the messaging from Government. There needs to be clarity and certainty and reassurance as opposed to what appears to be an extenuation of making policy up on the hoof.” 

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