Restaurant and hotel Christmas trade dries up: ‘I had a full house and then everybody cancelled’

Restaurateurs and hoteliers are losing customers at what should be their busiest time

Cancelled bookings: ‘We have lost at least 800 covers,” says Joe Donnelly of Rascals

Cancelled bookings: ‘We have lost at least 800 covers,” says Joe Donnelly of Rascals

“This is the end of the line. I am fighting for my business now, because if I don’t it’s gone, and what do I do then?” Nichola Dowling, who owns Loko restaurant in Waterford city with her chef husband, Jamie, voices the concerns of many in the hospitality business this week. Widespread cancellations of corporate Christmas bookings, along with a dramatic reduction in reservations made by groups of family and friends, is taking hold in what should be their busiest time of year.

Last month the chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, and the National Public Health Emergency Team said that cancelling social plans in the run-up to Christmas would be a responsible decision and that people should limit their social contacts, amid the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases and the arrival of the Omicron variant in Ireland. The fallout, for hospitality businesses, has been dramatic.

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