Restaurants will have to close their doors to customers wishing to dine-in during the busiest time of the year for the hospitality sector – and the impact has already begun to ripple across the city’s economy.
A butcher at Astles of Portsmouth said the business had already seen a slew of cancelled orders less than an hour after the announcement: ‘Twelve restaurants have had to cancel – they were big orders and they were very despondent.’
Other venues had pre-empted the announcement and cancelled food orders this morning, creating ‘a horrible atmosphere’ amongst traders, according to Tommy Bridle, a butcher at Buckwells of Southsea.
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He said: 'We had about five big restaurants cancel their orders this morning.
‘What's annoying is that a lot of restaurants have put orders in this morning – and a few hours later they have had to cancel them.
'Thankfully it's a good time of year for us and the Christmas trade is keeping us afloat - touch wood.’
Among the restaurants cancelling orders was Farm Kitchen in Palmerston Road, which had more than a hundred bookings in place for next week.
Supervisor Ellie Martin said: ‘Christmas is our busiest time of year – we usually do really, really well.’
‘Now we will be running a takeaway service and doing deliveries from Saturday.
‘In the last lockdown we weren’t busy at all, so we shall see how we go.
‘It is what it is – we want everyone to stay safe.’
Restaurant owner Dee Duncan hopes her business can retain its order with Buckwells by offering a delivery and takeaway service.
The owner of restaurant Forty-6 in Osborne Road said: ‘We’re going to try to keep our orders at Buckwells and work it into our delivery and takeaway menu. We try to buy from local suppliers and don’t want to make the call to cancel orders.
‘Before the last lockdown, the government gave us a week to prepare, and this time we don’t even have two days.
‘For Christmas trade, you have to think five steps ahead – we began to plan in November.
‘We were fully booked for the whole of December most evenings, we were fully booked next week.’
She added: ‘This is our first year open – and we are so over 2020.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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