Hospitality sector in the West Country prepares for 'uncertain' New Year due to Covid-19

What will 2022 bring for the hospitality industry? Credit: PA

Thousands of people have been celebrating the arrival of 2022 across the West County and the hospitality industry would normally be enjoying a roaring trade - but things are much quieter this year with rising cases of Omicron. 

There were fears that restrictions would be brought in before Christmas but at least venues can stay open, offering a lifeline to businesses.

The news came as a relief to the new landlord of a pub in Cornwall. The Coppice at Lanner near Redruth closed 13 months ago due to Covid-19. Craig Harrison says he knew he took a gamble in re-opening on 17 December.

Craig Harrison, Landlord of The Coppice Inn near Redruth. Credit: ITV West Country

Craig said, "We were scared, genuinely scared that we were going to be shut down after Christmas.

"It's been an incredibly tough nearly two years for the hospitality industry and opening up just before Christmas was a calculated risk.

"When the Government announced that there were no restrictions it was a massive relief for everyone to at least get through to January - and then we can see where we go from there."

The Guinness will be in full flow at Kitty O'Hanlon's in Plymouth but they are expecting a quieter New Year's Eve. Credit: ITV West Country

At Kitty O'Hanlon's, Plymouth's oldest pub and biggest Irish bar, there's hope the New Year will bring better times.

Landlord Ultan Moran said: "I'm excited and nervous. It's great to have the business open - this time last year we were closed for seven months. This year at least we're trading."

Ultan Moran, Landlord of Kitty O'Hanlons in Plymouth. Credit: ITV West Country

"The hospitality industry has had it really hard this year. Hopefully in 2022 we can come back out safer and have a really good year," he added.

Gloucestershire pub owner Samantha Snape is also hoping the new year will bring with it a brighter future.

Samantha Snape, Owner of the Lower Lode Inn in Tewkesbury. Credit: ITV West Country

Samantha runs the Lower Lode Inn near Tewkesbury and was dreading not being able to open over Christmas and New Year.

Sam said, "Fantastic, brilliant news just to be able to celebrate it with friends really. I really didn't want to sit in front of the television, that was not something I wanted to do again!"

In spring 2020, when Covid rules demanded that pubs run a table service, she had to close because she couldn't afford the staff. It really got her down.

The Lower Lode Inn had to close in spring 2020 due to Covid rules but the owner is optimistic about its future. Credit: ITV West Country

At the time Sam said, "To have it empty - something and somewhere that I am used to being that kind of place for so many years - it's been life changing".

But, with careful planning and limited opening, she's survived and is now optimistic about her prospects in 2022.