'Guests as safe at 11pm as as at noon'

By Cheryl Hickman, the Bull at Barton Mills, Suffolk

- Last updated on GMT

Operator view: 'the badly operated businesses won’t suddenly become sensible operators until 10pm every day'
Operator view: 'the badly operated businesses won’t suddenly become sensible operators until 10pm every day'

Related tags: Coronavirus, Government, Health and safety, Branding + marketing, Legislation, Licensing

We have been following all of the guidance to keep our team and customers safe from the beginning. We’ve faced abuse from people who think it’s all a load or rubbish and had to turn people away that refused to give details - not by law, by choice.

We have had to watch other establishments locally who are doing very little and in some cases nothing. We have seen queues outside bars in Bury St Edmunds with zero social distancing - I have asked a police officer if one instance would be dealt with and he just said they were too busy.

We have done absolutely everything we have been asked to. We have had full table service and one or two staff on the door from 7am until close every day so we could make sure guests registered and were not wandering around. 

Busy but safe

We expanded our outdoor space with outdoor dining cabins and completely overhauled our courtyard. It has been very busy since we reopened - busy but socially distanced and safe.

It would make no difference if we closed at 10pm or 11pm - our guests would be as safe at that time as they would be at noon. We have a zero tolerance to the non conformers.

We worked super hard in August for Eat Out to Help Out and had our busiest August in 13 years. We had to do this with skeleton staff.

It’s tough out here but we have been smashing it. We have a mantra that is 'never ever quit'.

Closure fears

The Government are doing what it thinks is best but surely these measures should be focused on the bad operators?

As licence holders we already have a legal duty to keep people safe - why didn’t the badly operated businesses just get closed? The badly operated businesses won’t suddenly become sensible operators until 10pm every day! They will most likely be just as irresponsible still. This just means the likely scenario is we will all face closures again.

The positive thing is we are trading well - there is a buzz about the Bull and we’re busy but how long will it last and will the Government want to close us all completely even the responsible ones?

We have literally done everything we can to keep people safe and keep our business safe. We have not had a single day off as we feel it’s our duty to keep our team and customers safe. We’re thriving and then boom, more restrictions. I agree we need to do something but feel restraints on the good businesses won’t achieve anything but unnecessary job losses and less revenue for the Government.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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