York Outer MP Julian Sturdy says he fears the city is suffering a ‘lockdown by stealth’ as people stay away over fears about the Omicron variant.
Mr Sturdy said today: “”I am hearing worrying reports from York of restaurants, pubs and bars seeing significant drops in custom last night compared to only a week ago.
“As York is a major tourist destination, I can only assume that the picture elsewhere is even more bleak.
“With mixed messaging from the Government, I want to be clear that the impact experienced by our hospitality businesses is a de facto lockdown but without any additional support.
“The Government have caused this and I want them to put out a clear message to fix it as soon as possible.”
Mr Sturdy said York pubs, restaurants and bars “have struck a sensible balance which protects both staff and customers while allowing for viable trade.
“Throughout the pandemic, hospitality has been used as an easy scapegoat for a significant source of outbreaks but with no data to back up claims there is any more risk than is associated with other venues.
“The hospitality sector needs all the support we can offer them this Christmas ahead of the traditionally quieter period during January. I want to see an end to Whitehall leaks of plans for a trade crippling lockdown, which only damages confidence by spreading fear.”
Omicron data is still very limited and Mr Sturdy wants to see more conclusive evidence before the government brings in new restrictions.
“Time and again, modelling has proven inaccurate, and I could not back any moves that will decimate the hospitality sector on limited statistics.”