Hospitality bosses 'left in limbo' as Omicron cases surge

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Hospitality bosses are waiting day by day for news about new restrictions and are facing cancellations. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Mick Howes

Hospitality bosses across Lowestoft say they have been 'left in limbo' as Omicron cases continue to surge.

Some 78,610 new cases of coronavirus were recorded across the UK on Wednesday, the highest since the pandemic began.

Dominic Burke, co-owner of the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, said people are being cautious in what is meant to be one of the busiest months of the year for the hospitality industry.

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Dominic Burke, second to right, is co owner of the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

He said: "We don't take bookings but have definitely felt an air of caution since cases began to surge.

"I would say we are in a precarious position.

"Without any financial incentive if we go into another lockdown it puts us, and everyone else, in a very difficult position.

"It is hard for us to judge how we are doing though in terms of numbers in the pub because we only took over the premises this year."

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Inside the Copper Smokehouse in Oulton Broad. - Credit: Copper Smokehouse

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Mike Smith, is director and chef at the Copper Smokehouse, a restaurant in Oulton Broad.

He said they haven't had large numbers of cancellations yet because they run a small restaurant.

Mr Smith said: "Touch wood we haven't been badly impacted by cancellations yet.

"We had one table of 30 postpone their meal until January but our size definitely means we aren't effected as much.

"I think potentially the rule of six might be brought back if Omicron cases continue to rise.

"We just have to be prepared for this and do what we can in the circumstances."

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Mark Gee and Tazmin Leech at Mark G, a seafood restaurant on Lowestoft's high street. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mark Gee and his partner Joanne Croom opened seafood restaurant Mark G at the pub formerly known as The Old Blue Anchor Stores on Lowestoft's high street in September.

Mr Gee said: "We had a few cancellations last week, around 20, but luckily none this week so far.

"It is so hard to plan anything at the moment because the figures are changing day by day.

"If further restrictions are brought in, like the rule of six, it would be very hard for us to implement this because we are a small restaurant, we would likely have to close.

"We are prepared for more restrictions though and would operate a takeaway service if needed.

"We've been left in limbo and it really is just a waiting game for the industry now."