Hayfield pub sees busy Christmas followed by a devastating New Year

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

The Pack Horse in Hayfield: Gutted and shocked to be closed for New Year but hopeful for the future
The Pack Horse in Hayfield: Gutted and shocked to be closed for New Year but hopeful for the future

Related tags Peak district Coronavirus Finance Christmas New year Pub closures

In the lead up to Christmas, the Pack Horse, Hayfield, Derbyshire, was surprised to be busy over the festive period, however the New Year bought in closure and coronavirus for the pub.

Despite the pub being filled with joy and customers in the weeks prior to Christmas and on the day itself, the week after saw 30% of licensee Luke Payne’s staff suffering from coronavirus or having to isolate, meaning the venue had to close and cancel its New Year celebrations.

Payne said: “Because there was so much uncertainty leading up to [Christmas] with basically no guidance from the Government and this stay-at-home suggestion, we were genuinely surprised how busy we were; we almost felt a little bit guilty.

Loss of revenue and stock

“So many places saw loads of cancellations or people not turning up, but every cancellation we had, we probably had another three tables book in, so that was really good, and then that week in between Christmas and New Year, coronavirus just ripped through our team.

“We had to shut, and we’re still shut. We were hoping to open this week, but we've had to push it back to next week. We’re a small team in a tiny pub in the Peak District so it's just not possible for us to open with 30% of our staff suffering from covid.”

Cancelling the New Year’s Eve celebrations meant the pub lost out on 30 covers for a special tasting menu which was planned for that evening and a loss in sales of about £10,000.

However, it is not just a monetary loss the Pack Horse has seen so far this year; 60% of food stock and 40 gallons of beer have had to be disposed of, despite Payne salvaging what he could, costing thousands of pounds.

Impact could be devastating 

Payne said: “We are all gutted, we were so ready to make Christmas and New Year really good for everybody and it was a bit of a shock. We haven’t been affected by covid up until this point, and it's affected us in the biggest way possible.

“Everybody knows January and February are a really difficult time for the industry with just how quiet it can get, especially with where we are; in the beautiful countryside but we're also really weather dependent so if it's bitterly cold and wet and miserable, we're not going to have the footfall.

“It was a great end to 2021 for us with the top Estrella Damm 50 gastropubs and the Michelin Guide​ announcements, which we hope does enough to sustain us early in the new year and start building the momentum back up, but [the impact of the New Year closure] could be devastating.”

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