'Soul-destroying' - Why this pub is staying closed until new year

Jason Bumphrey is also a partner at the Foundry Arms. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Jason Bumphrey behind the bar at the Foundry Arms in Northrepps. - Credit: Archant

The owner of a Norfolk pub which has announced it will not be reopening this side of Christmas has explained its "soul-destroying" decision.

On Tuesday, December 8, the owners of the Foundry Arms in Northreps announced it would be remaining closed until "at least" January 8.

In a heartfelt post on the pub's Facebook page, Jason Bumphrey and Sarah Jeans, the couple behind the business said they had been discussing the best way forward in order for the pub to survive the "awful situation that the hospitality trade finds itself in."

The couple said the logistics of getting the pub up and running in order to meet the requirements of tier two would mean the premises would not be ready to open until December 23, making the business "completely unviable."

Publicans Sarah Jeans and Jason Bumphrey, who hosted a coffee morning at the Foundry Arms, Northrepp

Publicans Sarah Jeans and Jason Bumphrey at the Foundry Arms, Northrepps. - Credit: Archant

Explaining the decision further, Mr Bumphrey, said; " This is, without doubt, the darkest hour the great British pub trade has ever had to endure and it was a very sad decision for us.


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"To not have our normal Christmas trade is a devastating blow to us and many thousands of other pubs up and down the country. "

Mr Bumphrey who is also involved with the Black Boys pub in Aldborough, which will also remain closed until the new year, said the rules against households mixing indoors blew 60-70pc of the pub's normal trade "out of the water."

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He said: "People are still scared of this virus. Honestly, if the government had sat down and written a manifesto about how they could systematically destroy the great British pub then they couldn't have done a better job."

The Foundry Arms, Southrepps.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Foundry Arms in Northrepps. - Credit: Archant

The publican said while he and Ms Jeans both loved the pub industry, trading in 2020 had not been enjoyable with the business finishing the tax year 35pc down on gross turnover compared to the previous year.

He said: "The only reason we will survive is because we are dipping into savings and making cuts where ever we can, - it's just soul-destroying. That said me and Sarah are very positive people and we know that we will survive this and bounce back stronger than ever.

"We just hope that things return to some sort of normal in the not too distant future, otherwise there will be many many great pubs that will probably go to the wall never to return."

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