‘Just give us time to plan’: Pubs on potential weekend closure
PUBLISHED: 15:58 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:48 22 September 2020
Landlords are gritting their teeth following the health secretary’s refusal to confirm that pubs will be allowed to open this weekend.
Matt Hancock would not rule out the closure of pubs from this weekend when appearing on This Morning today, adding “final decisions” on what response to a rise in coronavirus cases should be are yet to be made, but said the changes would be announced in the “very, very near future”.
The news has been greeted with determination from Norfolk’s pub owners and managers who said a second closure needs to be appropriately announced.
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“We’ll be able to deal with it as long as they don’t tell us a day or so before – which is how it felt last time,” said Hayley Legett, manager at the Coach and Horses in Thorpe Road.
The Thorpe Hamlet pub has put up a large gazebo and tables in its former car park to allow for better social distancing.
“We can handle it as long as we’re given enough time to make arrangements. We need to know what to do for staff – will they bring back furlough and if not how do we pay them – and make the changes like bringing in all of our outdoor seating.”
She was echoed by Mark White of the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, who said that “until he heard from a podium” he would continue operations as normal.
“We will close when the prime minister or Matt Hancock tells us to. It might be a bit difficult to take but we have to put the safety of our staff and the public first. There’s been a lot of hearsay throughout lockdown so until we hear it directly we will stay rammed with beer and carry on our good – albeit socially distanced – atmosphere,” he said.
“At this point we just have to accept that some things aren’t in our sphere of control,” agreed Greg Adjemian of G&D Ventures, which owns the Warwick Street Social in Norwich, the Ingham Swan in north Norfolk and the Wildebeest at Stoke Holy Cross.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of people in our industry who are very panicked but I just think we have to look inwards and figure out how we can adapt. We made it work when we went in lockdown, then again when we were told we could do deliveries and once again when we could reopen with social distancing. We’ll just keep having to change.”
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