A tapas restaurant owner is hoping to get more help from the government after losing nearly 100 bookings on Christmas Day – leaving him with just 40 people.

Owner Hakan Sabat spoke of how his business took a big hit from Covid Christmas Day cancellations leaving him to serve just over one third of his original bookings.

The all-you-can-eat tapas restaurant on Bolton Road in Darwen was open on Christmas Day, with Hakan having had about 130 people booked in. However, due to cancellations, he ended up serving just 40 people.

Hakan said: “If we hadn’t got Covid issues, Christmas would have been fantastic but because of these people cancelled their Christmas Day.

“We of course had no walk ins on Christmas Day to make up for it.

“I took deposits for a lot of the bookings but we have had so many cancellations.

“I have friends in restaurants in Bolton, Manchester and Chorley and all of them said they have had a similar problem with people cancelling over Christmas.”

Not only has he been badly hit on Christmas Day itself, but throughout the festive period he has seen tables cancelling due to people in the party testing positive.

On Tuesday night, the restaurant was supposed to host a party of 15 but they have cancelled due to a number of positive tests within the group but have agreed to keep their deposits and return in the new year.

He is hoping that the country will not be plummeted into another lockdown as he is worried about what the closure could do to the business.

Hakan added: “I hope the Government will look after the hospitality sector with a drop in business rates or VAT.

“I hope we aren’t closing - I am waiting for Boris.

“I am hopeful we will not close down again as I will be really worried about the business.”

Hakan, who is from Turkey, took over the business in May from previous owner Vassilis Vassiliou who ran an Italian restaurant on the site for 25 years.