Much-loved Harrogate restaurant offering a warm Christmas welcome to customers despite Tier 2 challenges
Hope may be on the horizon for a return to normality next year but the difficulties still facing Harrogate businesses remain while Covid restrictions are in force.
Despite taking a positive approach and introducing an extensive range of protective measures for customers and staff, even some of the top names in the Harrogate hospitality sector admit that life is still a struggle even during the Christmas build-up.
Independent restaurant William & Victoria has been a much-loved Harrogate favourite for more than 40 years.
Located in the heart of Harrogate and close to the Montpellier Quarter, William & Victoria has been owned and managed by the Straker family since 1982.
During this stop-start, open and close year, its owners Jo and David Straker have done all the right things to be Covid-secure.
Despite the deep loyalty of its long-term customer base, this relaxed but well-marshalled bistro-style restaurant-bar is still labouring despite the end of lockdown last week.
The run-up to Christmas would normally see William & Victoria fully booked. Sadly, this year it is not the case so far.
Jo Straker said: “The Tier 2 restrictions on meeting inside have made it tougher for hospitality.
“It took a lot of effort reconfirming the existing reservation to make sure they comply with the rules, most of them had to be cancelled.
“Usually in December we would be booked up with Christmas parties but the tier 2 rule that prevents the mixing of households inside has had a negative impact, particularly during the week and at lunchtime.”
Famed for offering a warm welcoming wine bar and hearty bistro-style dining downstairs with a staircase leading to the more spacious bar and restaurant upstair, W&Cs is unable to cater to large parties for obvious reasons.
But its owners are still keen to make the most of the festive season and keep the Christmas spirit alive.
With Harrogate in Tier 2, it can only reserved a table inside with people from their own household and those in the same support bubble.
But W&Vs believes it is right to give priority to tackling Covid.
Jo Straker said: “Our utside tables are very popular and our ‘festive gazebo’ is in high demand.
“I just hope everyone continues to show restraint over the relaxed Christmas period so we continue to see Covid cases fall in the area and can go back to Tier 1.”
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