PRIOR to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a £1 billion support package, businesses hit by Covid restrictions in Falmouth said they feared for their future.

Pubs and restaurants in Falmouth say that, since the government advised people to minimise social contact in the run-up to Christmas, they have been hit with 'constant' cancellations and walk in trade has dropped off a cliff in what is supposed to be the busiest time of the year.


Rishi Sunak offers £1bn support package for Covid affected businesses in England

Venues in Falmouth said the hospitality industry has been left dangling with customers urged to stay away amid the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant - but with no financial support to pick up the shortfall.

The industry had been hoping for a bumper Christmas season to keep them in business after last year's festivities were essentially cancelled amid the pandemic.

Matt Reay, owner of the Moth & The Moon pub on Killigrew Street, told the Packet during a visit to the pub yesterday that he'd had people cancel in the run up to Christmas or just not turn up.

"A lot of the time, a group 20 to 30 will come and only have will turn up and say the other half were cautious, they've got Auntie Beryl coming down so they decided they would not to come because they're afraid they won't get their Christmas with their family.

"It's pretty much halved our trade, it's been really up and down since that last 'sort of' announcement was made

Mr Reay, who had opened the pub during Covid and this was in his first year of business, said he was hoping the government would provide some sort of compensation.

"They have to," he said. "They can't close a whole industry down effectively, well you think not," he said

"We were hoping to earn enough to pay the rent. This year we were covering the costs and if we get the run up to Christmas OK we should just about cover the costs. We don't know what's going to happen, so fingers crossed for everyone."

It was the same story at the Pennycomequick pub just down the road, said manager India, with cancelled Christmas parties and a big fall off in trade.

"You can tell, usually this week of December is one of the busiest weeks of the year and it's just been really dead." She said lots of customers parties have halved in size with around half of cancelling.

"It's just pretty depressing really. it's usually this time of year you'd be getting loads of money now we're not, and not knowing what's going on in January so we don't know if we're going to be open or not, it's probably going to be really quiet anyway.

"There's got to be furlough at the minimum. How can people survive without any money?"

The chancellor Richie Sunak has come forward with additional help for the hospitality and leisure sectors in England following days of urgent lobbying from MPs, firms and industry officials.

It includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the affected sectors in England, which the Treasury expects will be administered by local authorities and to be available in the coming weeks.

The Government also intends to use taxpayers’ cash to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 employees.

In a statement issued to the Packet, Conservative MP for Falmouth and Truro, Cherilyn Mackrory said the situation with the Omicron variant was very fast moving and the Government has had to act accordingly.

"The Government has already put more funding than any other into our retail and hospitality as a result of earlier lockdown measures," she said. "While there are currently no greater restrictions on people using shops or hospitality venues other than mandatory wearing of face coverings in some setting, the Government does have this closely under review.

"I welcome the Chancellor's announcement today of £1billion of funds towards supporting hospitality and leisure businesses. If more restrictions are introduced, I will be pushing the Government to provide more support for those sectors affected. Businesses who are concerned are very welcome to contact me direct with their experiences to inform my thinking and enable me to feed this back to the Government."