"Not even a drop in the ocean": Sheffield restaurant bosses respond to £1bn grant for hospitality hit by Omicron

Sheffield businesses have responded to the chancellor’s £1bn grant to help the hospitality sector recover losses caused by Omicron fears.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 2:20 pm
Anne Horner from The Orange Bird on Middlewood Road says that the grant is not even a drop in the ocean. Picture: Chris Etchells

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced a £1bn support package for the hospitality industry, with businesses able to claim cash grants of up to £6,000.

The grants are designed to help hospitality venues which have been hit by cancellations in the run up to Christmas as would be customers grew concerned about the Omicron variant.

Sheffield businesses spoke to Sheffield Telegraph about the support plan and gave their verdict on if it would be enough to make up for the losses they have sustained.

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La Luna restaurant has been a presence in Sheffield for 24 years.

Marimko Glavima, of La Luna restaurant on Ecclesall Road, said: “Like everybody else we have been affected by the Omicron variant. We have had parties cancelling and parties turning up in smaller numbers. It is more about accommodating smaller tables.

"Any financial help is welcome, but we have had no details about how long it will go on. If it is for December only it will cover some losses. But December is the busiest trade month for the restaurant. It is needed but it won’t cover it all. It depends what happens in January and if we have to close and do takeaway only. There is a lot of uncertainty. Customers are not comfortable to go out, parties of 15 become eight.

"We have been here for 24 years. Most of our customers are loyal customers, but even though they are regulars we now have to check with them to make sure we don’t have empty tables. We are grateful to customers who do turn up and try to have their Christmas parties.”

Anne Horner, of Orange Bird Cafe in Hillsborough, said: “It’s great to know there is something for us, but even for a business of our size with smaller overheads the grant is almost nothing. VAT going up will have a massive impact, if they can keep that down that will have a positive impact.

Marimko Glavima, at La Luna restaurant, said that many parties are cancelling or reducing the size of their bookings.

"It is not even a drop in the ocean. Last time smaller businesses could claim about a third, so we may get £2,000, that would just about cover what we lost in cancellations last Saturday. We anticipate making smaller orders for stock in the new year, which has a knock on effect for our suppliers.”