HOTELS and restaurants will try to salvage some trade next month as many people face a year without a Christmas party.

The English lockdown is due to end on Wednesday, December 2, when the season of office parties and social gatherings would normally be getting under way.

The current measures are due to be replaced by a tiered system of restrictions along the lines of those that applied before November 5, although the details have not been released.

That would mean that people from different households could not gather in groups of more than six.

Tim Seward, chair of BH Area Hospitality Association, said: “With the hope that the government lockdown will end on December 2 and the BCP area goes back to Tier 1, some Bournemouth hotels are looking at alternative ways of holding Christmas events this year to coincide with bubbles of six and social distancing.

“Oceana hotels are holding a ‘Christmas is not cancelled’ theme across all their hotels including a range of tribute nights, with many other hotels arranging festive meals for bubbles up to six and festive afternoon teas.”

Oceana events include tributes to Abba, Kylie Minogue, Dolly Parton, Elvis and more as well as murder mystery evenings.

Cliff House Hotel in Southbourne is holding a takeaway Christmas hamper for the family, while the Queen's Hotel’s events include murder mystery dinners as well as Christmas lunches and teas.

The traditional office Christmas party is unlikely to happen.

Andy Lennox, founder of industry pressure group Wonky Table, said the rules barred large groups split into tables of six or fewer.

“You’re fined if you are seen to encourage it. Every table must have their own track and trace and lead contact,” he said.

Mark Cribb, founder of the Urban Guild group of venues in Bournemouth, said; “Restaurants in seasonal towns particularly rely on the Christmas party uplift to make December the only viable month to operate during the winter months.

“December would normally be an incredibly busy month with Christmas parties every lunchtime and evening throughout. This year we have zero confidence in being able to offer 'normal' parties and certainly have very few reservations.

“However, we do anticipate, that if we are allowed to open in December people will quickly make the most of any opportunity to go out and demand could still be strong. The public desire to get out of the house and celebrate in some way is easy to see. It is also likely to be strongest in the less risky groups, such as the under-60s.

“Combined with this, the sector has a proven record of keeping people safe and being a negligible source of Covid transmissions. Despite that, on a personal level I'm sceptical that the government will allow hospitality to re-open.

“I fear for every operator and every supplier. Think of all the napkins, crackers, turkeys, stuffing, pigs in blankets, bottles of Prosecco and so much more. So many of these items are still stuck in warehouses with no idea if they are going to be needed.”