Dine in UK at lowest since May amid Omicron fears | Food industry


The number of people dining out across the UK has fallen to its lowest level since the indoor hotel reopened, according to restaurant industry figures covering the first days since the variant was announced Omicron.

The seven-day average estimate for sit-down diners in the UK fell six percentage points in the week to November 29, reaching the lowest point since May 17, when restaurants reopened in hall in England, Scotland and Wales.

While the number of people eating out remained above levels recorded in the equivalent week in 2019 before the pandemic began, at 111%, the figure was down from a level of 117% the week before. , according to the figures of the reservation. OpenTable platform.

A potential sign of growing consumer caution, the number of diners seated on Monday and Tuesday this week fell sharply from the same days earlier this month, falling to 4% and 7% below pre-Covid levels for the same days in 2019. Although restaurant numbers were generally lower at the start of the week, this was the lowest daily figure since July.

Restaurant meal table

It comes as hospitality bosses report a wave of bookings cancellations for Christmas parties and events since news of the Omicron variant first surfaced late last week, as did pub, restaurant and hotel operators hoped to welcome large numbers of customers during the crucial holiday season.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the volume of vehicle traffic on Britain’s roads on Monday, November 29 fell five percentage points from the previous week, falling to 92% of its level of the first week of February 2020 before the spread of Covid19.

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The latest ONS snapshot largely covers the week through Sunday, which means only a few days since the Omicron news was captured. However, the figures show the economic fallout from Storm Arwen, including lower levels of road traffic and daily ship visits to UK ports.

Boris Johnson over the weekend announced measures to limit the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, including mandatory face coverings from Tuesday in shops and on public transport in England, but he stopped before to include the hotel sector. However, companies fear that more stringent measures will follow soon.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO of Simply Business, a small business insurer, said: “The return of Covid-19 restrictions amid growing fears around the Omicron variant will leave many small business owners worried about the risk of damage. ‘a dark Christmas. Not only could they signal new, tougher restrictions, but they could also weaken consumer confidence – with many in the hospitality industry already reporting canceled reservations. “


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