Hairdresser and restaurant cancellations surge after rise in Covid cases

Firms like hairdressers and restaurants saw a surge in cancellations over the past month as potential customers stayed at home amid the accelerating spread of Covid-19.

New numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed an increase in the number of people working from home after the government changed guidelines for England in December.

The Bureau of Statistics said Thursday that 16% of companies reported “an increase in customer cancellations over the past month”.

Service companies, including hairdressers and beauty salons, saw that number soar, with canceled bookings increasing by 50%.

Meanwhile, hotels and restaurants have seen a 45% increase in cancellations.

It comes after pubs and restaurants reported a sharp spike in cancellations after the Prime Minister announced Plan B restrictions in England in December, including guidance for people to work from home whenever possible.

The change in guidelines resulted in 21% of adults working entirely from home in the three weeks ended January 3, compared with 14% in the previous period.

The data also showed continued pressure on the number of workers: at the end of December, 15% of companies reported a staff shortage.

At 35%, this value was significantly higher for companies with 10 or more employees and particularly strong in the accommodation and service sector, where 37% of companies saw bottlenecks.

Elsewhere, too, more than a third of companies reported an increase in the prices of materials, goods and services compared to normal expectations.

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