SPECULATIVE AND UNNECESSARY COMMENTS CAUSING HAVOC WITH HOSPITALITY CHRISTMAS TRADE
03 December 2021
Hospitality Ulster is calling on the Executive and its Ministers to dial down comments regarding hospitality and socialising this Christmas as businesses have seen a severe drop in footfall and thousands of bookings cancelled.
The ‘work from home’ message; comments that hospitality is ‘high risk’ with the introduction of mandatory Covid-19 Vaccine Passports, coupled with comments made against festive socialising, has created a massive drop in footfall and a spike in cancelled reservations, with growing concerns amongst hospitality business owners that this will obliterate festive trade.
The drop in footfall and cancellation of reservations means bills are mounting up, but income is falling, staff aren’t getting the additional hours they depend on at Christmas, and hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock ordered before Ministers began taking to microphones and social media will go to waste.
Hospitality Ulster is calling on the Executive to ensure media comments are not speculative or framed in a negative context and for financial assistance for both hospitality businesses who will lose much of their festive trade, as well as staff who will lose out on additional pay at Christmas.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“The past week has been catastrophic for the industry as we have seen a severe drop in footfall and thousands of cancellations for the Christmas period. This will do untold damage to the hospitality sector which relies on trade in the festive months to see them through the lean months of the new year. Comments like, ‘Covid passes are because hospitality is high risk’, rather than a measure to make us ‘even safer’, have dealt a real blow to the already struggling sector.”
“The comments made, and language being used by Ministers, is causing customers to cancel reservations and be trepidatious about socialising during the Christmas period. This compounded with the work from home message is discouraging those who would usually be attending Christmas lunches and parties, poses a serious threat to many businesses.”
“We have statements saying the Covid measures are to help keep us open, but the rhetoric says stay away from hospitality.”
“The Executive must intervene and provide a coherent message and support for the industry where needed. It is imperative that all Ministers realise the damage their words are causing and prioritise our sector in the months ahead.”
“It is interesting that RoI Government Ministers are making statements that say their hospitality sector is ‘taking one for the team’ and ‘deserve help’, while our Ministers remain silent on any assistance.”