Café owners in Bristol say they could lose the majority of their business due to the government’s new work-from-home guidance.
The news has come as a “huge blow” to some Bristol cafe workers, who say they rely on trade from business people to stay afloat.
Tasha, who works at Small St Espresso, an independent coffee bar, called the news “really depressing.”
“It’s not great at all,” she said. “Only in the past few weeks have we managed to get back to some sort of normality. Now that’s all going to change.
“Our traffic from office workers is probably going to die out as people start working from home again.”
Tasha says the last few years have been “very up and down” for her business.
“Everything is constantly changing, no one in hospitality knows what they’re doing.”
It’s a similar story for Evie, who works at sandwich shop Royce Rolls at St Nicks Market.
“It is very concerning,” she said.
“Office workers are our business and our income. It will be disastrous not to have them around.
“I’d say around 85 per cent of our business comes from workers.”
Evie says the news has come at a time when the business is “just rebuilding itself.”
“All traders here [at the market] have decided to carry on as usual. We are not planning to close. We just want to go back to normal.”
Meanwhile Pezh Rahimi, manager of Café Amore on Nelson Street, says: “It’s definitely a concern.
“We only get around 10 per cent of our business from office workers.
“But in the long term, we will lose out.”
Pezh said pre-Covid nearly 40 per cent of its customers were business workers.
Adding: “We are worried about it but we will see how it goes.”
Laura Liddle of Diggity Doughnuts, which has only been open on Nelson Street for two weeks, is not concerned about the news right now, but says it could become a problem if things tighten up.
“We’re mainly a takeaway place so I don’t think this news will affect us too much.
“In fact, I am surprised the new rules aren’t stricter,” she said.
“If we go back into lockdown is when it will become a problem.
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“And if it does become an issue I think we will go on some sort of app.”
Laura says she doesn’t think it will affect the shop as “people are still going out.”
“People will still need to get their lunches.
“I guess it’s okay for us as we’re a takeaway business.
“But if you are an eat-in establishment it might be a problem.”
Yesterday Boris Johnson announced the country is moving to ‘Plan B’ due to Omicron variant spreading ‘incredibly fast’.
In a Downing Street conference, the Prime Minister said it is now “proportionate and responsible” to move the country to plan B amid increased concerned about how fast the omicron variant is spreading.
The main points of plan B include guidance to ‘work from home’ and people will be asked to wear face masks in more settings. The new guidance will come into force on Monday (December 13.)
Read more here.