UKHospitality has reiterated its plea for the government to minimise restrictions and commit to keeping the VAT rate low as it revealed that Christmas Day takings for operators fell 60% compared to two years ago.
The organisation said its research has shown how the industry’s fight to recover from the pandemic has been decimated by Omicron.
Pubs, bars and restaurants lost £10,335 on average in the week leading up to Christmas, it reported.
In the weeks prior to the new variant emerging, average sales had been close to pre-pandemic levels (98%).
However, city centre and London venues have been hit particularly hard by the new work from home restrictions, the drop in consumer confidence, and footfall.
UKHospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, said: “Hospitality businesses have been hit hard during a key trading period – and this after missing out on the crucial Christmas and New Year sales last year.
“Restrictions must be kept to a minimum and must be lifted as quickly as possible to help an already beleaguered sector or many will simply not survive – and those who do make it through face a return to 20% VAT in April.
“In order to help the industry recover and return to growth, the government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% and offering enhanced rates relief. Further support will also be needed should additional restrictions be imposed or the tougher measures in Scotland and Wales be retained into 2022.”