3308180 Covid: 'Plan B was a catastrophe for our coffee shop'
Number of words : 1043 Number of sentences : 50 Number of paragraphs : 1
Plan B Covid guidance re-introduced in December was " a catastrophe" for a Leeds Coffee Shop , its owner has Said .
Working-from-home, plus caution over Omicron, meant " custom went off a cliff" Flamingos Coffee House owner James Greenhalgh Said .
December is normally his busiest trading period, and sustains The Shop in the early part of The Next year.
But while Plan B Covid restrictions in England being lifted from next week, James is " nervous" about his firm.
" Ask me in a month how I'm doing, " He Said . " That's what's making me nervous. "
He has tried to diversify The Business through the pandemic by moving into selling groceries, which " helped to pay The Bills ". But James Said he has " lost all passion" for The Business due to set-backs, including a very quiet Christmas.
" These are normally the busiest days of the year, and there were days when we were stood around, and no-one came in, " He Said . " It's been a disaster. "
" I just pay The Bills at The End of the month and hope there's some money left, " he added.
In December the government Said people should work from home if they could, which, along with Omicron caution, had a huge impact On James ' Coffee House .
Office workers are " big spenders" and while there are some customers who like to socialise coming into The Shop , the Coffee House has been missing that part of its trade.
Working from home guidance was lifted on Wednesday but James is not expecting a quick rebound in trading.
" It will take months for confidence to come back, " he adds. " It will slowly get better, but it won't get back to where it was. "
But some café businesses have managed to diversify.
One coffee business that has expanded into e-commerce is Grind, which has eight shops in London.
It started selling compostable Nespresso-compatible coffee pods before the pandemic, and business has taken off, according to founder and chief executive David Abrahamovitch.
" That side of The Business was helped by Plan B ," he says. " If people are working At Home they are more likely to drink [coffee] At Home . "
However, the shops themselves were " devastated" by Plan B , with revenues falling by 90% in a week in More Than one location, He Said .
Nevertheless, he is expecting The Business to have made £20m in sales for the year, and has plans to expand into the US and Europe after a cash injection of £22m, mainly from UK investor Richard Koch .
Thousands of hospitality businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and Plan B restrictions helped push many into trouble, according to insolvency firm Real Business Rescue.
In December, for example, More Than 6,100 bars and pubs were in " significant financial distress" it Said , More Than a fifth More Than in the same period Last Year .
Nightclubs were also affected by customers having to show Covid passes, and Said they were " relieved" at that restriction being dropped from next week.
Stephen Spensley, one of The Directors of Stereo nightclub in Middlesbrough, Said removing the need to show a Covid pass at The Door would make his customers feel safer.
" It all boils down to people's fear, " He Said .
Customers had worried about the passes, sharply reducing the numbers coming to his 300-capacity club, in The Run up to Christmas Mr Spensley Said .
While concern about The Virus had eased in January, the requirement to show proof of either vaccination or a recent negative lateral flow test was still putting some customers off, He Said .
" I think our demographic of 18 to 25-year-old clients will feel a lot freer, because a lot of them are hesitant about getting the vaccine, " Mr Spensely Said .
The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland closed nightclubs in those nations completely.
Clubs are set to reopen in Scotland and Wales next week, however vaccine passport requirements will remain in place. Financial support
Michael Kill, of The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Said clubs in England had lost around 20% of their footfall while Covid passes were in place.
The " debilitating restrictions" had meant queues outside clubs were longer, He Said , because security staff were trying to check Covid passes on top of checking people's age ID, in low lighting.
" What we're finding when people come up is there's frustration, from The Challenges around exemptions, to civil liberties, accusations of discrimination. "
Mr Kill Said without question the sector would need further financial support from the government.
Mr Spensely Said The Extra Covid pass checks had added 20% to his staffing costs because he need twice The Number of security staff at The Entrance .
" Its an extra layer of bureaucracy" Said Mr Spensely " It slows the queue right down. "
Tristan Moffat, operations director of The Piano Works, which has two Late Night live music venues in Central London Said " there'll be a lot of jubilation" about Wednesday's announcement.
" We're certainly delighted about it, " He Said .
While Covid passes had caused frustration among some customers, others had found them reassuring.
But Other Aspects of The Plan B restrictions, such as working from home guidance, had taken a " huge toll" on The Business , as mid-week trade had fallen away, He Said .
" The Work from home directive was far more harmful than Covid passes. I think Covid passes people could live with.
" We probably would have dropped around 5% of revenues [just over Covid passes] but The Thing that's really given us a major whack is The Work -from-home directive, " He Said .
Industry group UKHospitality Said the removal of restrictions was " a key milestone on The Road to recovery for the sector".
" This is fantastic news for the hospitality sector, after the critical Christmas Trade was laid to waste for The Second year running, " Said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls .
" Lifting the working from home recommendation is a particularly important move as it enables town and city centres, and the businesses that are their lifeblood, to begin their revival and recovery, " She Said .