Wigan pub boss fears New Years Eve is already ruined despite no new restrictions
Cancellations due to rising coronavirus cases and venue closures due to staff illness are already affecting local businesses, said InnTheBar owner Tony Callaghan.
Many people were concerned that their plans would be cancelled due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases with rumours of a two-week circuit breaker.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson concluded that further restrictions were not required on indoor gatherings after a meeting with senior officials, in which he was presented with the latest data on the spread of the Omicron variant.
While many hospitality venues will be breathing a sigh of relief that they can remain open, some believe the damage has already been done.
Mr Callaghan, who owns several bars and clubs in Wigan, said: "It's great we've got no restrictions and can trade but we aren't getting the business that we were before the new variant was unveiled.
"I had to close three of my venues because my staff had gone down with Covid. It's caused a massive problem.
"People I've spoken to in the same industry are saying the same thing. We're also struggling to plan ahead because we're in limbo if any restrictions will come into place in January.
"If we buy loads of stock and then have to close or operate at a reduced capacity, then we'll be losing a lot of money."
If people are planning to head out on New Year's Eve, they are being urged to err on the side of caution.
Ged Blezard, Director of Operations at the North West Ambulance Service said: “We have already experienced a very challenging year with more people calling 999 than ever, and our staff have been working exceptionally hard.
"However, the festive period traditionally brings with it an increase in a certain type of 999 call as people can get carried away while celebrating the time of year.
“While we want people to enjoy themselves, we want to use this opportunity to ask the public not to add any unnecessary extra burden on the service by behaving irresponsibly or treating our staff with disrespect if they are called to help.
"This includes not drinking to excess and increasing the risk of hurting yourself. In addition, we would urge you to follow all the latest coronavirus guidance to help protect both you and your family from Covid-19.
“Remember, 999 is for life-threatening incidents and emergencies only. Please consider if options like your GP Pharmacist or 111.nhs.uk could be a more appropriate option for your health concerns.”
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