Roadmap reaction: 'I can't say I'm jumping for joy'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Reeling from the roadmap: operators have shared their reaction to the Government's lockdown exit plan, sharing disappointment that indoor service will not resume until 17 May the earliest
Reeling from the roadmap: operators have shared their reaction to the Government's lockdown exit plan, sharing disappointment that indoor service will not resume until 17 May the earliest

Related tags: lockdown, coronavirus, Beer, Public house, Restaurant, Legislation, Operator

Operators have shared their mixed reactions to news of a phased reopening of pubs with The Morning Advertiser, with one describing the Government's roadmap as a "huge blow."

Jon Orman, owner of the Old Star Ale & Cider House, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, says theannouncement was a huge blow for micro-pubs like his.

Old Star Ale & Cider House - Shoreham

"As a small wet-led venue with no outside space, we are dismayed and further disheartened by the government’s provisional schedule for reopening the hospitality industry.

"Pubs such as ours were previously rendered all-but inoperable under the tier system due to the ban on household mixing and the absurd ‘substantial meal’ requirements.

"The fact that we will now not be able to open as a pub​ in any form until 17 May at the very earliest is a huge blow not only for us but our customers and suppliers as well."

Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby, the Virgins & Castle in Kenilworth, are optimistic now they have an idea of reopening dates but want public health to remain a priority, rather than a rush to reopen. 

Jonathan Carter Morris and Marc Hornby co-founders of Caviar & Chips (1)

"Firstly, we're glad to hear that the latest updates are considering taking a cautious approach to infection rates and the health and wellbeing of everyone.  We're really pleased to hear that so many of our guests and vulnerable people in our community have already received the vaccines.  

"The positive out of this is that we have a roadmap and some dates to work with. Up until now we've been second guessing when we might be able to re-open our doors. We thought that back in December that we might be open for Christmas Day and then New Year. We've made things up through January and so now it's great we've got a date to aim for.

"We're looking forward to a sunny spring in our beer garden from 12 April (fingers crossed) and opening up in full from 17 May. We completely understand if these dates get moved back. We would rather wait and be confident that we wouldn’t have to close again and that everyone stays as healthy as possible."

Kathryn Boam, the Dog and Parrot, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, is disappointed that hospitality has been last on the list for a full reopening.

How-are-real-ale-pubs-coping-with-lockdown_wrbm_large (1)

"A five week gap between every stage and an update one week prior to a reopening stage, is not sufficient time for the hospitality trade.

"We need at least three or four weeks for definite to reopen to get restocked and for the breweries. We are going to have to hope that we can open when stated.

 "The majority of pubs do not have sufficient space to make it pay to open any outside space. 

 "They have reduced outdoor area and majority of them only have indoor space to accommodate justifiable opening to make ends meet.This also depends on the weather as well. If it's cold or raining between 12 April - 17 May this will have an impact on opening and numbers of customers.

"Let's hope the dates do not get changed any the infection rates and hospitalisations still continue to drop throughout the gradual opening up and easing of measures."

 Sally Pickles, the Bowgie Inn, Crantock, Cornwall, said she feels positive now the cliffside pub has a date to focus on.

Bowgie-2

"Opening outside areas only does present some challenges, mainly due to the Cornish weather. Of course it would be better for business if we could open fully, but we understand the difficult decisions that the Government are having to make.

"We feel that our venue could open safely as we do have a lot of space and we are well prepared with our Covid safety measures, but the rule for pubs must apply to all.

"On the positive side, if the weather is good we are lucky enough to have plenty of outdoor space to trade from 12 April - 17 May with our large deck and beer garden overlooking the beach at Crantock.

"We are hoping for a busy summer in Cornwall so that businesses can make up for lost trade in the last 12 months."

Piers Baker, the Church Street Tavern, Colchester and The Sun Inn, Dedham, dubs five weeks of only trading outside as a "horrible prospect."

How-has-2020-changed-people-and-pubs-Piers-Baker_wrbm_large

"The unpredictability of the weather, lack of space for some, including Church Street Tavern, will make it impossible to trade profitably. 

"When indoor hospitality is permitted from the middle of May, it is positive that the tiers, curfews and food with alcohol have gone. But the key for hospitality will be in what the Chancellor provides in the budget next week. Current grants are not sufficient to keep business afloat until mid-May - we have fixed costs while still being closed, we have cost of furlough and for many, the rent issue hasn't been resolved.

"It is also concerning that while the dates of reopening have been given, confirmation will only arrive a week before. This isn't ideal, particularly for our suppliers. So while we have a road map, I can't say I'm jumping with joy!"

Elaine Wrigley, of the Atlas Bar in Manchester, says the announcement is good news but reduced capacity means her business needs additional Government support.

WEB Elaine Wrigley - 9880

"While we are fortunate enough to have an outside terrace, current social distancing requirements mean that capacities are hugely impacted and we would not break even, without continuing Government support."As a city centre bar, with an rateable value over £51k, we did not receive the first lockdown support, at all, and we have been carrying losses for longer over the past year, than we have been trading."We are hopeful that all restrictions do go, at the end of June. This will allow us the opportunity to move towards trading back at more usual levels, and starting to stand on our own two feet."We do believe, however, that the government still has some work to do to continue supporting us, until we can trade. It will take us two years to recover, this year's impacts, insurance companies have got away with not honouring policies, and city centre businesses, which will be the slowest to recover, have received the poorest level of support."Government should be looking to what the French and German government have done to truly support previously viable businesses, in recompensing either a proportion of previous profits or turnover."

Related topics: Legislation

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