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Hotels feel pinch while restaurants fare better as holiday parties take place


The pandemic has resulted in recommended small gathering sizes, allowing restaurants to keep up business while hotels face empty event spaces.

The holiays are right around the corner, with many city workplaces planning parties in hotels, restaurants and other establishments in the hospitality sector. But the presence of COVID-19 is once again expected to cut into the bottom line for many social venues.

“People are being very socially conscious about what is that they can and are needed to do in terms of following the regulations and protocols that are in place,” said Jim Kilkenny, general manager of Delta Regina. “So, while we’ve seen a few large functions, definitely what we are seeing is a trend to smaller functions in terms being able to practice social distancing and following all the protocols and whatnot.”

The hotel industry was especially hard-hit, with many reservations for Christmas events made in the summer, cancelled during the rising cases in the fall.

“So, all of the enthusiasm that we saw this summer for all the new Christmas party bookings, we saw 75 per cent of them being cancelled,” said Ryan Urzada, chief experience officer for The Atlas Hotel. “So, it’s basically up and down like a yoyo, sort of feast and famine, and no certainty and no predictability these days.”

The general move to smaller gatherings and minimized holiday celebrations haven’t hit restaurants the same way as hotels, allowing for a sense of normalcy to return according to Bar and Marketing Manager for Bushwakker Brew Pub Grant Frew.

“I think overall, compared to last year, we’re very thankful to be in the position that we’re in,” he said. “It definitely is a good holiday season; lunches are longer, people are sticking around longer. But overall, it’s been quite good, quite encouraging, the staff are happy. It kind of feels like old times.”

As for the threat of Omicron, Frew says their patrons don’t seem to be overly worried about the new variant and are ready to weather the potential storm.

“But at this point in time, everybody seems to pretty calm cool and collected,” he said. “You know they’re vaccinated already and I think there’s a feeling of confidence that they’ll be able to weather this wave, just as they did the previous ones and I’m sure there will be more waves to come.” Top Stories

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