Labour ministers must create a ‘cancellation compensation fund’ for hospitality businesses as many traders are being hit with no-shows amid concerns surrounding omicron.
The Bar 44 chain, which has a restaurant in Cardiff, has seen a staggering 3,200 people scrap their bookings for December.
And they are not alone, with many restaurants, cafes and eateries facing a similar predicament as the country ramps up its efforts to combat the new omicron variant of coronavirus.
The Welsh Conservatives fear Welsh jobs will be at risk if hospitality businesses lose out on thousands of pounds of vital money as a result of people cancelling bookings.
The party insisted Labour ministers have enough money in their coffers to throw businesses a lifeline and want to see robust action announced at next week’s budget.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Economy, Paul Davies MS, said:
“The run-up to Christmas is usually a very busy time for our hospitality sector and this year would’ve been a perfect opportunity for them to recoup some of their losses.
“But with so much concern and uncertainty surrounding omicron, it is clear some people are cancelling their plans, leaving businesses open and still shelling out on costs, but without any trade.
“Pubs, cafes and restaurants have been hit unbelievably hard throughout the course of the pandemic and we cannot afford to see them carry on losing money hand over fist because at the end of the day they will be forced to close with jobs hanging in the balance.
“That is why it is imperative that Labour ministers step in and save the industry by creating a cancellation compensation fund before it is too late.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance, Peter Fox MS, added:
“Labour ministers have the power and the money to make sure our businesses are fully supported and compensated as we face a period of more uncertainty.
“They are sitting on £500m of covid support and are poised to receive even more cash from the UK Government in the next few days.”
“To keep Welsh jobs safe, businesses need extra cash urgently. The Labour government in Cardiff Bay has a real opportunity to throw their support behind businesses at next week’s budget announcement.”