Hospitality businesses in Basingstoke have raised concerns as they see sales fall amid a spike in Omicron cases.

Mary Stevens, owner of Willows Coffee House, has said she is concerned at the prospect of more restrictions, and could run reduced hours in January to avoid making a loss.

It comes as the UK recorded its highest daily total of Covid cases, as infections rise thanks to the Omicron variant.

Now, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and public transport, whilst Covid passes have been introduced to larger venues such as nightclubs.

But restaurants, cafes and pubs are also feeling the effects, as they see cancellations rise and sales decrease during the all important run up to Christmas.

Mary Stevens, manager of Willows on Church Street, said that more restrictions would "kill independent" businesses in the hospitality industry.

She told the Gazette: "It's hit us quite hard, our sales are significantly down.

"We have written an email to Maria Miller, to ask for business grants to come back.

"We are going to have to look at reducing our opening hours in January, because we're going to make a loss.

"Everybody seems to be coming into town, getting their shopping and going home and it's definitely Covid-related.

"It's the terminology being used - when you use terms like tsunami, people get scared and they don't want to sit in coffee shops or go to bars and things like that.

"They don't want Christmas ruined. I get it, I am the same, but I've got a business to run and it's a real struggle financially.

"I do think more restrictions will kill independents, that have looked after everybody during the lockdowns, because we don't have that government support any more and we really need it.

"I would definitely support a campaign against restrictions on hospitality, but I don't think it will be listened to."

Earlier this week, Kevin Divall, landlord of the Rising Sun on Chapel Hill, said he is already feeling the downturn brought about by restrictions.

He estimates he is set to lose "several thousands of pounds" in the run up to Christmas because of cancellations.

Meanwhile, Kendra Dhakal, manager at Chennai Express restaurant on Wote Street, said: "We have had bookings for big groups, but at the very last minute maybe only 6 or 8 out of 20 turn up.

"Normally, if they call to reduce the numbers they say that someone has got ill and that is the reason.

"It worries me because we had a very long lockdown and after that we were doing well, and now there are lots of rumours of more restrictions.

"For a small business like us, it's not nice to hear. If the government wants to put in restrictions for people's safety, we will comply but ideally we do not want it to be like last time.

"This is the busiest time of the year and when restrictions are put in place and there are a lot of cases as well, then we are losing out and December is when we should make the most money."