Peterborough restaurant owner criticises Government after raft of cancellations over omicron variant fears

A leading chef in Peterborough has blamed poor Government guidance over the new omicron Covid variant for a string of cancellations at his restaurant.

By Paul Grinnell
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 6:34 am
Damian Wawrzyniak at his restaurant House of Feasts at Eye. EMN-200728-181516009
Damian Wawrzyniak at his restaurant House of Feasts at Eye. EMN-200728-181516009

The award-wining chef-patron Damian Wawrzyniak, who runs the award-winning House of Feasts, in Eye Green, says 20 bookings have been cancelled in the few hours since Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of the contagious variant.

Mr Wawrzniak said: “The Government messaging on this is all wrong.

“There is no real guidance and it seems that people are now fearing to go out.

“I had 20 cancellations this morning, which range from tables of four to a table of 48.

“And that is just in the few hours since Mr Johnson’s first broadcast.

He said: “I don’t blame the customers - it’s the Government’s approach to this, it is just so haphazard.

“The Government has said masks must be worn by customers in shops and on public transport.

“But it seems masks are not required in hospitality and theatres.

“But that is why people are cancelling. Some will be scared to dine out as they fear other guests won’t wear masks. And I’m not in a position to ask someone to wear a mask.”

Growing fears about the new variant will be an unwelcome blow to the hospitality industry, which is still reeling from enforced closures during national Covid-19 lockdowns over the last 18 months.

Many restaurant owners have been pinning their hopes of recovery on a prosperous and busy Christma season.

Mr Wawrzniak said: “We need some certainty over this. We have been waiting for Christmas since the summer.

He added: “We don’t need another lockdown. The industry couldn’t survive it.”