Hospitality bosses 'optimistic' despite winter Covid concerns

Eric Snaith inside Eric's Fish and Chips in Thornham which has been reviewed by Giles Coren Picture:

Eric Snaith at Eric's Fish and Chips in Thornham. - Credit: Eric's Fish and Chips

Hospitality bosses in north Norfolk are trying to stay optimistic ahead of Christmas after medical experts called on the government to reimpose coronavirus restrictions.

At a press conference on Wednesday, health secretary Sajid Javid said the government will not be implementing its 'Plan B' measures, which would bring back rules such as mandatory face masks.

Eric Snaith, owner of Titchwell Manor hotel and restaurant, said: "This year we've got two large Christmas parties booked. In previous years we've done party nights where people group together. This year we decided not to do that.

EDP Norfolk Magazine. Titchwell Manor for Dining with David food feature. Outside of the main restau

The Titchwell Manor Hotel in Brancaster Staithe. - Credit: Angela Sharpe

"With the recent news, I'm starting to feel a little bit nervous. It puts us in a difficult position. You have to carry on with optimism but if the bad news comes then manage it the best you can.

"The hotel has a lot of space so we can accommodate distancing. It's a reasonably safe space. But of course a Christmas party is not going to have social distancing.

"As a business, you just almost have to carry on with hope the numbers stabilise."

Figures for the seven days up to October 15 show that north Norfolk recorded 319.5 cases per 100,000 people, a rise of 60pc on the previous week.

For context, the district's highest ever rate was 418 on January 4 and it has been climbing every day since October 5 when it was 173.

The Foundry Arms, Southrepps.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Foundry Arms, Southrepps.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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Sarah Jeans, landlady at the Foundry Arms in Northrepps, said: "We're being a little bit cautious. We're taking bookings but saying to customers that could be subject to change but we're feeling quite positive.

"We can only follow what the government tells us to do but if they did shut us down again we'd be totally gutted."

Richard Graveling, who runs the Grove Hotel in Cromer, said they are expecting to be busier than they have ever been in November and December.

Richard Graveling, who owns The Grove hotel in Cromer with his brother, said Saturday's restaurant r

Richard Graveling, who owns The Grove hotel in Cromer with his brother, said Saturday's restaurant re-opening went better than he could have hoped. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The restaurants are "still getting lots of enquiries about Christmas parties", with comedy nights taking place on the three Thursdays in December nearly sold out already.

"We're not having many people asking about our Covid measures or anything like that. It doesn't seem to be at the front of people's minds.

"Until we see the government change their policies, we're just going to keep an eye on it and see what happens."