Michael Clay, chef and co-owner of Ancoats Elnecot restaurant, said the government’s treatment of the area had been “shameful”, adding that he had negotiated with Mayor Andy Burnham on a financial support program “like a car of questionable opportunity ”. seller’.
“All of this had the effect of completely decimating bookings,” he said, adding that bookings were down by more than 50% from last month.
“Cancellations happen quickly and with complete uncertainty about the future.
“As usual, government messages have been sparse and clear as mud. This lack of information left us uncertain and this was reflected in the bookings.
“People didn’t want to book because they didn’t even know if they could even go out or not. ”
Even if restaurants were forced to close, Michael said business support grants would not be enough.
“The £ 2,000 per month our business would receive if we were asked to close could just as easily be nothing – it wouldn’t even cover a third of our rent,” he said.
“And restaurants and bars are just the tip of the iceberg. The whole chain of suppliers, producers, artists and traders who need hospitality to survive is also being decimated without even the symbolic help that has been offered to us. ”
Michael said closing pubs and bars could be “the last nail in the coffin” for many companies, adding that for others it “will continue the gradual suffocation that we have been subjected to for weeks now”.
For his own restaurant, he added: “It’s just about seeing if we can keep our heads above water.
“We have worked hard for four years to create a business which, through no fault of our own, is slowly breaking up.
“We have a government that has promised (over and over again) that it will do ‘whatever it takes.’ They have shown that they are not even ready to offer the bare minimum. They are deceitful, cowardly and shambolic.
“We will inevitably see more pubs, bars and restaurants close in the coming weeks.
“We will see producers and suppliers go bankrupt. We have already seen artists who could perform in these places or create art for these places treated with absolute contempt.
“People who worked hard, contributed to the economy, paid their taxes and made a living. They provided cultural stimulation, they created jobs for people and they adjusted their business models to cooperate with the changing stipulations that this government keeps pushing on them.
“And yet they still won’t be supported enough to keep them from going bankrupt. We have no choice but to keep trying to adapt and survive.
“Everything we have is in this restaurant. ”
Across town, Red’s True Barbecue has also seen “totally decimated” bookings at both its Lloyd Street site and its Fallowfield branch.
Scott Munro, co-founder of the independent group of smokehouses, said: “You would think that as a northern-based restaurateur, we would be slightly shielded from the latest round of tiered restrictions, alongside the curfew of 22 hours aimed at reducing socialization. in pubs and bars.
“But we are now seeing that consumer confidence is hitting the entire hospitality industry.
“Where we would be able to negotiate fairly well with the old rule of six, the new tiered restrictions have totally decimated bookings and walk-in tours have been almost non-existent over the past week as there has been no It is not possible to mix households inside.
“We operate in Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham, which are all currently at Level 2, but if and when Level 3 kicks in, we are already wondering ‘what’s the point of staying open?
Level 3 restrictions in Greater Manchester began on Friday, aligning the region with Liverpool and Lancashire.
Talks are also reportedly underway in West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire to get them to adopt the same measures.
“We hear that some Liverpool operators are trading at 10% of their usual sales level, so staying closed would surely be better than losing more money,” Scott said.
“The support provided by the government is insufficient to allow us all to continue, and there are going to be a lot of casualties.
“We are seeing our neighbors in Wales and Northern Ireland installing circuit breakers with full support for their hospitality industries, but instead of taking the plunge our government is languishing in lack of action and support for ours. .
“Whatever happens, we cannot continue without the proper support from our government. ”
The company is adjusting to the situation with the launch of “Meat by Meal,” a nationwide overnight delivery service that sends out restaurant meals, sides and craft beer for diners to recreate. Red’s experience at home.
“With the various restrictions making it more and more difficult for diners to come to us, it seems the best solution is for us to ‘go’ to them,” said Scott.
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