After months of uncertainty, St Albans businesses are once again reeling in the wake of further government restrictions - but you can help!

The spread of the Omicron variant has meant the introduction of the so-called Plan B, with people encouraged to work from home and cancel any planned Christmas parties, but this has had a devastating effect on the beleaguered hospitality industry.

Campaign group Save St Albans Pubs is urging companies who have decided to scrap their work parties to consider buying staff a gift from the pub or restaurant.

Spokesman Sean Hughes said: "Our Stick One In campaign from the original lockdown was a lifeline for pubs with people buying vouchers to redeem once pubs reopened or buying stock from closed venues. The response from St Albans was incredible.

"Most venues offer vouchers or drinks hampers and many are offering additional experiences for companies to buy and use once restrictions are lifted.

"So if you have to cancel your booking please consider the pub or restaurant who rely on Christmas for their business and ask if they are offering vouchers or other experiences. Use your company budget to buy a gift from them instead."

Nick Farr, founder and director of Farr Brew, who run pubs including The Elephant and Castle in Amwell, explained the impact of the crisis: “It has a devastating effect on our business and every other pub or restaurant is suffering a similar fate.”

Nick added: “Please, please, please don’t just cancel… call us and see what we can do. If you don’t, there’s a very good chance we won’t be here when the next festive period comes.”

Charlie Powell, owner of Charlie's Coffee and Company near St Albans City Station, is hoping commuters working from home will still visit: "As restrictions come and go, our little van stands strong in this community. We're hopeful that our loyal following will still walk down to their coffee van for a cup of warmth and some morning cheer."