Operators who believe a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown could be a magic bullet and solve all the industry’s problems should be “careful what they wish for”, UK Hospitality’s Kate Nicholls has warned.

Speaking on MCA’s The Conversation, Nicholls was responding to insight from Lumina Intelligence which suggested two-thirds of operators would accept a short lockdown if it meant they could open as normal over Christmas.

She cautioned that consumer confidence would take longer to recover after a second lockdown, and that experience showed first time round that lockdowns last longer than planned.

Her comments come as Wales enters a circuit breaker lockdown, which she said left a bleak outlook for the county’s heavily tourism reliant economy.

Nicholls told The Conversation: “I think anybody in the industry who thinks they can have a two-week lockdown now and go back to trading normally for Christmas is wishful thinking.

“We were told it would be three weeks when we went into lockdown in March and we were closed for nearly four months, and then we’ve had further restrictions imposed upon us afterwards.

“It seems slightly seductive to think you could close now and then get away with opening without restrictions, but you wouldn’t because you’d go into tier one.

“I think it’d be dangerous to have it at any point when we could end not opening until Christmas, or until next March.

“It was hard to get the government and the chief medical officer to agree to reopen hospitality in July, it took a lot of campaigning and work to make sure that they were reassured. I think it would be even harder to get over that hurdle a second time, so I don’t think two weeks is what we would get away with.

“The experience internationally is that if you go into successive lockdowns, the second time you come out, it takes three to four times as long to build up consumer confidence and get them return, though it unless you’ve got very deep pockets, and a very resilient business I think that that’s a huge gamble.”