Advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell said customers were canceling Christmas events in response to Omicron and criticized the UK government for not giving enough advice on the masks.
Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital and founder and former chief executive of WPP, said event cancellations had accelerated since the identification of the new variant of Covid.
“What we see our clients and other people doing [doing], the answer is they… cancel, ”Sorrell told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.“ There has been a series of pretty brutal cancellations since this happened just three, four , five days. “
Boris Johnson, who is embroiled in a Christmas party controversy in Downing Street during the lockdown last year, has urged people not to cancel the parties or the nursery rooms.
The prime minister’s view contradicted the advice of leading scientists and one of his most senior health officials, who were advising people to cut back on unnecessary socialization in response to Omicron.
Sorrell said, “The advice we get from both the government and the medical community is conflicting. The uncertainty is extreme. To be a little sympathetic to the government, it is an extremely difficult situation. But we have already experienced this with [the] Delta and the previous variants, so you would have thought the government would have been a bit better prepared for what might or might not happen in terms of scenario planning. “
Sorrell said the government should expand its guidelines on where masks should be worn as the UK is in a period of “extreme uncertainty” over the seriousness of Omicron.
“The government suggesting that we should wear masks in stores or on public transport is one thing but what about restaurants, hotels, events? I think the government is not giving us enough advice on the simple things we can do, ”he said. “We don’t know at the moment how far this will spread. This could become extremely difficult in certain scenarios. “
He said the public did not take current advice to wear masks seriously. “Wearing the mask, I think, helps to a certain extent, and we just don’t implement it and people don’t take action. Going out last night, for example, and seeing what people were doing in restaurants, shops and theaters, without really taking it seriously enough. We should be very careful at this particular point, I think. “