‘We have already seen a downturn in trade’: Pub owners “anxious” about future despite revamp
PUBLISHED: 08:35 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:42 30 September 2020
After investing in log cabins, a pergola and entire revamp of their outdoor areas, the owners of a pub said they are doing everything they can to ensure the survival of their business.
Pam and Terry Gillman, owners of The Black Horse pub, in Thetford, have transformed their beer garden to create a welcoming and safe environment for customers.
With four individually designed log cabins, named after former pubs and Thetford historian, David Osborne, all with electricity and heating, as well as a large pergola covering an outdoor seating area, the couple hoped this would encourage punters to return.
But as the winter months approach along with the recent restrictions placed on pubs, Mr and Mrs Gillman said they have already seen a downturn in business.
Mrs Gillman said: “We had to think outside of the box and we ploughed everything we have into saving this business.
“People have been blown away by what we have done outside. When the lights are on at night, they say it’s like being on holiday.
“Since the log cabins have been in operation they have been fully booked and people are re-booking because they feel safe.
“But the problem is, because we are relying so much on our outdoor space at the moment, as soon as the weather turns it’s going to affect us.”
With reduced capacity inside the pub, to comply with social distancing restrictions, along with the 10pm curfew, Mr and Mrs Gillman said they are feeling even more “anxious” about what the next few months will bring.
Mr Gillman added: “We have already seen a downturn in trade.
“On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, a lot of our regulars don’t come out until late. They get home from work, have a shower and their tea, and by then there is no point.
“In my personal opinion, by telling people to wear masks in pubs and enforcing the 10pm curfew, it has put seeds of doubt in people’s minds and has labelled pubs as unsafe.
“But we have tried to think of everything we can and we have put all measures in place to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”
In a bid to “claw back” business lost, the Black Horse will be opening from 10am on Saturdays for breakfast and Mr and Mrs Gillman hope to offer time slots for home-made afternoon teas during the week.
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