Last night’s (15 December) announcement, held by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and chief medical officer Professor Chris Witty, saw the public again urged to get vaccinated and limit social interactions, following a ‘bleak’ update to the Cabinet regarding the rapid spread of Omicron across the nation.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “Last night’s press conference was the latest blow in a week of the Government’s public health messaging taking a sledgehammer to what is usually the busiest period of the year for night-time economy businesses.
Worst of both worlds
“With the Prime Minister appearing to lack the political will to impose actual restrictions, and instead seeking to induce a pseudo-lockdown through repeated sombre-sounding announcements, our sector is now facing the worst of both worlds – a recent drop in trade and no Government support to help us through.”
Yesterday saw the highest recorded daily number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, 78,610, with Witty warning a lot of coronavirus records will be broken in the coming weeks due to exponential transmissibility of the new Omicron variant.
While the Government has advised the British public to limit social activity without closing pubs, the Chancellor is yet to speak on the topic of Omicron, leaving hospitality operators in the dark about any potential financial aid to get them through the current wave of the pandemic.
Hospitality already carried so much burden
Kill added: “Where on earth is the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
“It is quite staggering that despite the obvious implications of the Government’s rhetoric we haven’t heard a squeak out of HM Treasury.
“The Chancellor needs to come out of hiding and outline how he will support nightlife businesses – who have already carried so much burden in the last two years - through the Omicron wave.
“Surely he can see it will only be worse for the economy in the long run if these businesses are left to try to fend off failure on their own.”