Christmas Tiers

Christmas Tiers

Making sure there's room at the inn this Christmas

There's no question that the newly-announced Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas 2020 period are yet another serious challenge for the UK's hard-hit hospitality industry. Now that the details are clearer, we know that businesses in the "Very High Risk" Tier 3 areas, including large swathes of the densely populated Midlands, North East and North West, will be especially hard hit. This is estimated to affect over 23 million people. HORECA businesses in these areas will need to rapidly adapt to takeaway, delivery and drive-through services only, in order to keep customers supplied and revenue turning over.

Most of the remaining areas in England and Wales fall into the "High Risk" Tier 2 category. Some 32 million people, around 57% of the total population, will come under these measures. In Tier 2, pubs and restaurants will be able to operate, but with strict rules in place; in particular, alcohol can only be served with a 'substantial meal'. Closing time is strictly 11 pm, with last orders at 10 pm. It's hoped that this will lead to an orderly, more gradual end to the evening.

Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles will operate under the more relaxed regime of Tier one.

Management and staff under all three tiers are required to follow rules on contract tracing and personal protection - there are big penalties for failing to do so.

The official list of areas and tiers is available here and there's some useful extra guidance at

It's in everyone's interests that the industry does its absolute best to respond to the situation as it stands and to keep as many customers well-served and happy, even under the most difficult of circumstances. The British hospitality industry has shown many times before that it has remarkable resilience and adaptability under pressure. It will continue to do so, largely with great professionalism and good humour.

For hotel, pub and restaurant owners, one of the biggest challenges is responding to the 'on-off' uncertainties that various Covid restrictions have thrown at them throughout the year. Finding and keeping good, reliable staff, often at short notice, to work Christmas shifts has never been easy, and this year it will surely be one of the toughest challenges yet.

Suitable hospitality staff at all levels have to be found quickly so they can be briefed on all the rules and requirements of their jobs. They must also be ready to overcome inevitable customer frustrations with the current tier system.

Many hard-pressed managers of hotels, pubs and restaurants will be turning to JWR for help infilling their staffing rotas, depending on our advanced databases and social media reach to help find the right people at the right time. With offices in Birmingham, Salisbury, Exeter and London, as well as a reputation as one of the top hospitality recruitment specialists across the whole of the UK, we're well-prepared and ready to rise to the challenge. Together, we'll make sure there is room at the inn this Christmas, whichever tier you're in.