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Self-catering providers hit by cancellations after rule of six announced

Beleaguered self-catering providers have been hit by swathes of cancellations after the Government made its rule of six announcement – while restaurants fear there will be no Christmas party trade. 

From Monday, new lockdown rules in England will mean no more than six people will be able to gather indoors or outdoors. 

The hospitality industry says it has already been hit hard by this week’s announcement from Boris Johnson, with self-catering holiday homes seeing ‘thousands’ of cancellations, according to the Professional Association of Self-Caterers.

'Thousands' of holiday rentals on self-catering cottages and homes have been cancelled following the rule of six announcement on Wednesday, the Professional Association of Self-Caterers has said

‘Thousands’ of holiday rentals on self-catering cottages and homes have been cancelled following the rule of six announcement on Wednesday, the Professional Association of Self-Caterers has said

Its chair, Alistair Handyside said smaller holiday cottages may escape harm, but it could devastate larger properties.

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘Not many people want to book six people into a property that’s designed for 25 and rattle around. So they will probably be bereft of bookings for the next few months.

‘What it will mean in the short term is no income and refunds, so they’ll go into negative turnover for the next three months as they refund the guests that would’ve come.’

Larger holiday cottages will be 'bereft of bookings,' says Alistair Handyside, following Wednesday's Government announcement

Larger holiday cottages will be ‘bereft of bookings,’ says Alistair Handyside, following Wednesday’s Government announcement

He warned ‘pitifully small’ Government support grants would not be able to support the impact on the industry.

He added: ‘The cancellations have been started, all I’ve been dealing with all day is owners who are haemorrhaging of bookings just as they started to recover.

‘This self contained space is the safest space that’s available for for paying guests to stay in. 

‘These houses are prepared properly, the guests go in, they’re in their own self-contained area not sharing it with other groups as they would in a hotel, or bed and breakfast or a pub. This is a very safe space where they can control their own group.

‘We’re mystified as to why this limit hits self catering but you can still book 20 hotel rooms.’

Speaking to the nation from No10 this week, Boris Johnson said a spike in Covid infections over the past week left him no choice but to tighten lockdown across England for the first time since March. ‘We must act,’ he said. 

He signalled that the ‘rule of six’ limit on how many people can socialise together will be in place for some time to come.

Apart from a vaccine, he said the only other way out before Christmas was a ‘moonshot’ of introducing mass daily testing for everyone, but admitted that would require ‘everything to come together’. 

Michelin star winning chef Tom Aikens warned restaurants could shut unless they manage to get Christmas party bookings

Michelin star winning chef Tom Aikens warned restaurants could shut unless they manage to get Christmas party bookings 

There are now concerns that restaurants could shut as they lose vital Christmas party trade.

Michelin star chef Tom Aikins, who runs Muse in Central London, told Radio 4: ‘We just opened last week on Thursday we were starting to take some bookings for Christmas. 

NEW LOCKDOWN RULES FOR ENGLAND FROM MONDAY 

  • Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE
  • Applies indoors and outdoors
  • Applies in private homes
  • Applies in pubs and restaurants
  • Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces
  • Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sport
  • Does NOT apply if household bubbles are bigger than six people
  • Police will be encouraged to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200

‘It was all looking a little bit rosy until the announcement that’s just happened.

‘I don’t think there will be many Christmas parties. 

‘I can’t imagine big offices turning out as a table of six. It’s not really fair on the others. 

‘A lot of restaurants and hotels, its their bread and butter business at this time of year going into Christmas if that’s not happening its possibly going to make restaurants shut down. 

‘It’s unfair towards the hospitality industry, particularly this time of year.

‘It’s the busiest time of year and yet you can still travel in large groups of people on the Tube and on the Underground.’

Asked on Wednesday whether he had abandoned his stated ambition to have the country back towards normality by Christmas, Mr Johnson said: ‘Whether we are going to get things back to normal at all by Christmas, I’m still hopeful, as I’ve said before, that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas.

‘I talked just now about how you could do that. Through that Moonshot of daily testing – everybody gets a pregnancy-style test, a rapid turn-around test in the morning, 15 minutes later you know whether you are infectious of not.

‘You may not know whether you are infected or not, but you know whether you are infectious, or not, and that gives you a kind of passport, a freedom to mingle with everybody else who is similarly not infectious in a way that is currently impossible.’

He added: ‘We are aiming for that. We are driving for that. As I have said…we cannot be 100 per cent sure that we can deliver that in its entirety.’ 

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