Restaurants in northern England count cost of last minute Coronavirus rule changes

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Northern restaurants count cost of last minute rule changes

Related tags Manchester Greater manchester Lancashire West yorkshire Coronavirus D&d london Gaucho Elnecot

Restaurants in parts of northern England have seen a flurry of cancellations following the Government’s announcement of new Coronavirus rules late last night.

Around four million people across the whole of Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, have been told they can no longer meet people from another household indoors, which includes restaurants and pubs.

Under the rules currently in place throughout the rest of England (with the exception of Leicester)​, people can visit a restaurant in their household groups – or support bubbles – or with one other household.

In the areas affected, rules for eating and drinking in restaurants and pubs with outside space appear to remain unchanged to the rest of England with up to six people permitted to meet al fresco.

BigHospitality understands that some operators in the area have responded by contacting every table that has booked to ensure the party are all from the same household.

Alongside this, it’s likely the changes to the rules will make some customers more nervous about going out to eat and drink.

Elnecot, a restaurant in Manchester’s Ancoats area, says it has had over 100 cancellations for this weekend. 

The restaurant is attempting to contact those that have cancelled to give them the option of dining outdoors. 

"People are worried but they're also cancelling for logistical reasons, for example their babysitter cancelling," says co-owner Micheal Clay. "We currently have 70 covers inside and out so this is a significant chunk of our business." 

The restaurant has secured extra stock and staff for what was expected to be an extremely busy weekend. 

"We're also very concerned about no-shows. We've had an increase since re-opening, although it's not been nearly as bad for us as it has been for some. We're anywhere between 10% and 30% at the moment but that could well go up. People are scared," says Clay, who has also had some cancellations for meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week when the Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme launches. 

"The whole things is very worrying and it's more mixed messages from Government. If it's that dangerous to go out why aren't they delaying Eat Out To Help Out?" 

D&D London’s Manchester restaurant 20 Stories had 187 booked in for lunch today (31 May) prior to the announcement but this has now dropped to 154 because the restaurant can now only allow bookings from the same household.

A spokesperson for D&D said they expected to lose more bookings over the course of the weekend.

Gaucho and M Restaurants CEO Martin Williams says Gaucho Manchester has so far lost fewer than 100 covers for this coming weekend.

North West-based chef restaurateur Gary Usher took to Twitter to ask fellow Manchester operators whether they had seen cancellations following the news.

The response was mixed, with Six by Nico in Manchester city centre reporting it was still “pretty full” and Jacks bar & Grill in Stockport saying it had seen “a few” cancellations.

A small number of diners responded saying they’d been forced to cancel bookings but a larger number said that they would be sticking with bookings.

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