THE New Year is quickly approaching, and some in the hospitality industry have been hit hard by people's concerns over the Omicron variant.

Bookings have been cancelled, parties have failed to turn up without cancelling their reservation, and many are taking a step back from socialising in restaurants and pubs which are still recovering from successive lockdowns.

So, what are pubs expecting for business on New Year's Eve?

Simone Clark, the landlady of Hexham cask pub Tap and Spile, says not knowing "what to order for stock, and no clear indicator whether we'll be open or allowed live music' is the biggest concern leading up to the New Year period.

Since they are not predominantly food-led, their business has not been drastically impacted, but is still less than what normal business would usually be at this time of year.

Tap and Spile emphasise they will "give the same service, and we're very safety conscious" in efforts to protect customers.

The Golden Lion pub in Allendale, owned by Simon Watson, said: "we're still expecting a big turn out of locals."

"There has been a lot of cancellations for the restaurant when groups of people were booked in for Christmas, but there's still good footfall in the bar."

Like other pubs, The Golden Lion was concerned about possible new restrictions.

Since they are a small venue, they were greatly limited by table service impositions.

The Italian Vercelli Restaurant in Hexham has closed its doors until after Christmas due to staff shortages, and will reopen on December, 28.

The Fox pub, managed by Robert Newton, said: "Last Friday was quiet, and the older crowd are not coming out as much."

More than the pubs being affected, Robert says the "restaurant trade has been hit hard" because bookings are being cancelled.

At The Fox, they do everything they can to try and protect the locals: "We do everything correctly, and we just hope the public will support us when we reopen if we do have to close."