With Bristol's brilliant bars and restaurants forced to stay shut as the city enters Tier 3 restrictions, the people who work in the hospitality sector are facing Christmas without any work and without the money to feed their families.
Industry leaders fear 80 per cent of pubs, restaurants, music venues and nightclubs could shut if the city remains in Tier 3. That's thousands of people who rely on their work in our city's independent establishments left without jobs.
BristolLive has launched #BigUpBristol to support Bristol's bars, restaurants and music venues through this awful time and we're calling on your support for hospitality workers. We want to raise as much as we can for Hospitality Action UK to help feed families in Bristol when they need it most. Your money will go to the pub, bar, restaurant and cafe workers who need it most. It will help part-time, full-time and self-employed workers to get through Christmas.
Please consider spending a little bit of the money you might otherwise have spent on a night out or a Christmas meal out with family where it's needed most - supporting the families who work in your favourite bars and restaurants through Christmas.
The more we raise, the more families we can support. All the money will go to families in Bristol who work in the hospitality sector.
BristolLive's BigUpBristol campaign
This time last year, Bristol's hospitality trade was on a high after being named the best culinary destination in the world.
A year on, and many of those brilliant independent businesses that gave Bristol its award-winning food and drink scene are at rock bottom.
The city entered Tier 3 restrictions on December 2, meaning pubs and restaurants will be forced to stay shut at least until December 16 for all except takeaway or delivery services.
This means they cannot open fully in the weeks leading up to Christmas - usually the busiest and most profitable period of the year - before the traditionally quieter months of January and February.
The measures will be reviewed on December 16 when there's a possibility Bristol could drop down a tier, but even if this happens business owners would face an uphill battle getting their sites ready to open at such short notice.
So BristolLive has launched a campaign calling for additional support from the government and from all of us for Bristol's hospitality industry.
We're encouraging everyone to #BigUpBristol, to shout about your favourite independents on social media, to help fund your local business by buying a takeaway or even by buying a meal for when they reopen and to help fund the people who work in hospitality.
And we're calling on the government to help too - to give these businesses the financial support to ensure they survive through the pandemic and into 2021 and beyond.
Campaign backed by BARBIE and MPs
Brendan Murphy, co-founder of Bristol Association of Restaurants, Bars and Independent Establishments (BARBIE) agrees that Tier 3 is a disaster - and that is why he's getting behind our campaign.
"Tier 3 was expected and now that it has been confirmed it paints a really bleak picture for the Bristol food, drink and night-time economy," he said.
"The industry requires immediate support, whether a long-term investment from Bristol City Council or solutions from national Government.
"It’s time for landlords to take some of the burden as they will still be asking for rent and the current support packages do not go nearly far enough for venues to survive.
"If the Government could step in with paying rent or give the bigger landlords some form of tax incentives it would really help."
The campaign has had the backing of all four of Bristol's city MPs.
Bristol MP Kerry McCarthy
Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, said: "It's very clear these businesses have been very badly hit and the support they've had so far is not enough. The government has announced grants but people have fallen through the gaps.
"When Manchester and Liverpool were going into Tier 3 they had negotiations with the Government about how much support was necessary but this time there don't seem to be those negotiations."
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said: "The more we can support them the better. They are the lifeblood of our communities and we all want to see them there after this. Tier 3 is a real blow. We all know these people make most of their money in the run up to Christmas. We will keep the pressure on."
MPs Thangam Debonnaire, for Bristol West, and Darren Jones, for Bristol North West, have also expressed their support for the #BigUpBristol campaign.
About Hospitality Action UK
Hospitality Action was established in 1837 and has since offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK.
We’re here for the chefs, waiters, housekeepers and managers. We’re here for the concierges, receptionists and kitchen porters. And we’re here for every sommelier, bartender, catering assistant and cook across the UK.
Whether you work in hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars or cafés, schools, hospitals or event venues, we’re here to give you the help, advice and support you need whenever times get tough.
Whatever challenge you face - from physical illness or mental health issues to financial difficulty, family problems to addiction - Hospitality Action is here to get you back on your feet again. And when it’s no longer possible to work, we can help you prepare for the next phase of your life.
Whatever you do in hospitality, we’ve got you.