Hospitality industry facing 'lockdown by stealth', hotel boss says

The Grove guest-house has been shortlisted for the Hidden Gems Awards, pictured is owner Richard Gra

Richard Graveling at The Grove in Cromer, which has traditional hotel rooms as well as glamping and self-catering accommodation. - Credit: MARK BULLIMORE

A hotel boss in north Norfolk has urged the government to "get a grip" over messaging on coronavirus as the hospitality industry faces the threat of cancellations over Christmas.

At a press conference on Wednesday (December 15), prime minister Boris Johnson hailed the rollout of the booster programme.

Current guidance is to "use caution" when choosing social events to attend at Christmas.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covi

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus - Credit: PA

Richard Graveling, manager at the Grove Hotel in Cromer, said: “We’re seeing increased enquiries from nervous guests but that is not translating into substantial numbers of cancellations. 

“But what’s not helping is mixed messaging coming out of the government at the moment.  

That’s a real problem for us because what we are concerned about in the hospitality industry is facing a lockdown by stealth where the government will say hospitality is open and at the same time tell people not to go out. 

“We would like to see a clear position on it, either carry on as normal or lockdown and support."

He said that a lot of stock is already ordered for Christmas and staff are rostered so that hotels and restaurants could face massive losses.  

The government needs to get a grip quickly about what they need people to do.," Mr Graveling said. 

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Figures from Public Health England show that Covid infections hit a record 481 per 100,000 people in North Norfolk on December 10, beating a previous high set four days earlier on December 6 of 472.

The area's previous record was 418 on January 4, 2021.

The number of cases in one day hit treble figures for the first time on December 19 with 101 cases, while the town with the most infections was North Walsham with 161 cases in the seven days up December 10.

Most of the cases have been in people under 14 years old.

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

Eric Snaith, who runs Titchwell Manor, Eric's Fish and Chips and Eric's Pizza, said it had reduced its number of Christmas bookings.

One larger booking which was in the diary and would have filled the hotel cancelled on Thursday morning.

"We are having table bookings cancelled too, we have had one so far for Christmas Day for a three-day break," he said. "I'm expecting a few more. People are seeing how it pans out."