The hospitality sector has received a “welcome boost” after it was announced no further coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in England before the new year, trade bodies have said.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people “should remain cautious” but after reviewing the latest data on the Omicron variant decided not to impose restrictions beyond the Plan B measures already in place.
Industry leaders representing pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in England praised the “positive” announcement which could put the sector “on to the road to recovery”.
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: “Hospitality businesses will be raising a new year’s toast to celebrate the Government’s pragmatic and proportionate approach.
“This will give a real lifeline for many who have struggled with the loss of trade in the run-up to Christmas and the loss of new year on top of that would have been devastating for many.
“It will be a welcome boost and keeping restrictions to a minimum and lifting the remaining restrictions as quickly as possible to help the beleaguered sector back on to the road to recovery.”
Covid passes for entry into nightclubs and other venues have been in place in England as of December 15.
This applies to indoor events with 500 or more attendees where people are likely to stand or move around, such as music venues, certain outdoor events, such as music festivals, and any events with 10,000 or more attendees.
Face coverings have also been made compulsory in most indoor public settings.
However, unlike in other parts of the UK, nightclubs will be open for New Year’s Eve allowing revellers to celebrate.
A spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said: “It is good news to know that we are staying open at new year. This festive trade is very important for the sector to see us through the winter.
“We hope this decision is a positive signal for the future as we enter 2022. We wish to trade our way to recovery.
“However, pubs and brewers will need more certainty going forwards to allow businesses and customers to plan ahead with confidence.”
Michael Kill, chief executive of Night Time Industries Association, said: “Following an extremely anxious and damaging few weeks for our sector, we are pleased that the Prime Minister has listened to us, and announced today that no further restrictions will be implemented before new year.
New Years is on!! Amazing News!!
Michael Kill CEO NTIA Says
“Following an extremely anxious few weeks for our sector, we are pleased that the Prime Minister has listened to us, and announced today that no further restrictions will be implemented before New Year.” #Savenightlife pic.twitter.com/TMhc2Ds6IX
— Night Time Industries Association (@wearethentia) December 27, 2021
“Our industry can now start to plan with some certainty over the next week, and make up for lost time promoting one of the key nights of the year in the coming days.
“It is important that given this opportunity that we continue to recognise our responsibility to the public health strategy, and urge our customers to not only support us during this period but play their part in ensuring that this is the start of our recovery.”
He called on the Government to generate a long-term strategy for managing Covid variants.