'You almost just feel that everything’s just looming over you, you’re starting to think it’s going to be a matter of when not if'

The Staff Canteen

With new covid restrictions coming in to force in scotland, Katie O’Brien, co-owner of 21212, tells us how they are affecting her business.

'Getting a wee sense of deja vu here' - tweeted restaurant 21212 yesterday after they suffered cancellelations due to new covid related flying restrictions in Scotland, and they weren't the only ones to voice their concerns.

“The immediate impact is just cancelations, straight away, particularly parties," explained 21212's co-owner Katie. "I had two parties booked this week… and both of them had to cancel because of the flight restrictions.”

She’s also had a few smaller groups cancel as well, due to not wanting to travel now that the restrictions are in place.

These restrictions are, according to the government website, that all international arrivals to take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative test, and that Face coverings are now compulsory in shops and on public transport. 

She was not the only one to experience cancelations with chef Paul Foster tweeting 'Lost over 20 covers this week already'.

Katie said, “You can definitely sense a little bit of cautiousness going around already because of the unknown".

This sentiment was echoed by Damian Wawrzyniak who told the BBC: "We had 20 cancellations over the weekend, mostly for Christmas parties. Customers were phoning to tell us they weren't sure what was going to happen in a few weeks so they'd rather cancel now". 

Dave Critchley also told the BBC that he was starting to see 'larger groups cancel their bookings'.

Masks have remained mandetory in Scotland so the announcement that they were back for those in England using shops or public transport made no difference, and as Katie says 'nothing has changed from what we were doing'.  

It has however created as sense of uncertainty, it brings up the question, what next? Katie said: “You almost just feel that everything’s looming over you, you’re starting to think it’s going to be a matter of when not if".

“It’s that sense of when is something going to change?” 

Katie says she saw a slight increase in bookings for the near future but an increase in cancellations and lack of booking down the line. Suggesting that people are uncertain of what the future holds and are trying to get out before further restrictions come into place.

She explained: “Uncertainty is worse than knowing what you can and can’t do."

Chef Morgan said a similar thing in an interview with the BBC: "People are just freezing and they are not doing anything and that's all to do with consumer confidence".

Katie says the biggest impact for her business will probably be that the short breaks that used to supply them won't happen as the need to isolate before and after will make that too difficult for people.

When it comes to how businesses are adapting to these returning restrictions, Katie says having made the decision to keep most of the changes they had had to make when they first reopened; such as closing early and limiting the number of tables - the business was prepared for these returning restrictions.

That’s not to say it’s been easy; they have still been hit by the staff shortage and she described it as doing what they can manage and going with the flow.

However, Katie did say that if any bigger changes came then there would need to be government assistance as there was during lockdown and the reopening.

When asked about her worries of what was to come Katie said: “You wouldn’t want, obviously, to go back into another lockdown again.

“I think, that restrictions should be more tailored to the places.”

She says 'certain restrictions made sense in some areas but for her small ten table restaurant just felt unnecessary'.

“I’ve always wanted people to continue to feel safe coming out”.

But judging by the response on social media from the hospitality industry, it appears people aren’t sure if it is safe to keep their bookings.

Have you suffered cancellations this week due to covid restrictions? Let us know!

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th November 2021

'You almost just feel that everything’s just looming over you, you’re starting to think it’s going to be a matter of when not if'