'The situation is frustrating': Hospitality sector prepares for 'uncertain' New Year's Eve

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

Pub, bar and nightclub owners across the South East say they will see in 2022 the best they can, as they prepare for New Year's Eve celebrations.

The Government has given parties the go-ahead, but there are some requirements in place like the NHS Covid pass for nightclubs and large indoor events.

Hive nightclub in Newbury is expecting 1,000 customers on New Year's Eve, but that will still be hundreds fewer than normal.

Increased Covid precautions is one reason for the reduced numbers, but the recent uncertainty about potential restrictions also hasn't helped.

  • Darren Godwin, Owner of Hive nightclub

Owner, Darren Godwin, said: "Makes the planning of things more difficult. We don't know how many staff, door staff we will need, how much drink we're going to need. It's a lot more difficult than it has been."

It's the same story at the Canvas Live Lounge venue in Bournemouth.

A big event on New Year's Eve was cancelled because of the uncertainty, but when the restrictions did not happen, there was a big push to salvage some of the lost business. 

Owner, Giles Cooper, said: "40% of our income is generated in the Christmas, New Year period. So we need everyone to come out and enjoy themselves."

Giles Cooper is hoping his New Year's Eve event is a busy one. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A self-imposed reduction in numbers is happening at the nearby Marsham Court Hotel.

In previous years 400 people would enjoy New Years Eve in two large rooms.

This year just one room is being prepared, mainly for hotel guests. 

  • James Dixon-Box, Owner of Marsham Court Hotel

Owner, James Dixon-Box, said: "The situation with New Year this year is frustrating. We'd love to do the full thing and technically, when you look at the Covid rules, we are allowed to, but the uncertainty at the moment means people are not booking."

Mask wearing will still be compulsory when moving around the hotel and Covid passes and negative test results will still be checked at check-in.

  • The majority of the public is set for a quiet New Year's Eve

But the precautions in place are not enough for many people who plan to stay at home, even though all the venues we spoke to have strict Covid rules in place.

If you are planning to go out for the evening, you will need evidence of vaccinations or very recent negative test results.