Christmas parties going ahead despite Omicron concerns

Top Kent producers to consider this Christmas

Confusion over Christmas parties as Government sends out mixed messages - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Revellers are largely going ahead with Christmas parties as planned in Suffolk - but there have been some cancellations over fears about the new Covid variant.

There has been mixed guidance from government and NHS bosses on Christmas parties, causing some confusion for party goers, employers and the hospitality sector and some cancellations.

Managing director of Venue 16, in Ipswich, Jamie Smith, said: “We've had some cancellations, nothing of enormous size.

"We have the capacity to do 3,000 people here for example and I think over the last couple of days we've probably lost 100-150."

Chairman and managing director of Milsom Hotels and Restaurants, Paul Milsom, has also already seen "a small number" of cancellations, added: "It's concerning but it's not critical at the moment, but obviously we are just entering December."

Paul Milsom. Picture: MILSOM HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS

Chairman and managing director of Milsom Hotels and Restaurants, Paul Milsom, has said they have already seen "a small number" of cancellations. - Credit: MILSOM HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS

The Christmas party season usually brings a boost to the sector - one that is much needed this year - as Mr Milsom explained: "It's pretty crucial in the winter, it’s the one bright spark, December, between some difficult trading months of November through till mid-March. 

"So if you lose December it makes it a pretty challenging winter."

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The full extent of effect of the new Omicron strain is yet to be fully established, but the threat of another winter with restrictions is now hanging over us.

Mr Smith said: "Of course, it’s a worry, the last thing we want is for it to completely fall apart,  we've committed to costs for certain things in the business for Christmas and we probably won't be able to get out of them, those costs will have to be paid. We're hoping for minimal damage."

Venues may have to adapt if new measures are brought into force as a result of the latest Covid issues, which is something that Mr Smith and Venue 16 are already preparing for.

He said: "As a venue we will take everything into account, we want to be as safe as we possibly can.

"We've got sanitising stations, if we have private functions and if they want us to ask for Covid passports we're happy to do that." 

Mr Milsom has conceded that it is hard to tell how this winter will go. "The only thing I've learnt through this period is that there's no point trying to make huge plans for the future, one needs to take every day, every week as it comes."

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