Droves of pubs and restaurants shutting down until tier two is over

Steve Munson (inset) runs the Gull Inn and will reopen with a new roof terrace and menu. Picture: St

Steve Munson (inset) runs the Gull Inn and will reopen with a new roof terrace and menu. Picture: Steve Munson/James Randle - Credit: Steve Munson/James Randle

Pubs and restaurants across Norfolk have announced they will be closing their doors for the foreseeable future with tier two restrictions not making opening worth their while. 

Norwich's Assembly House announced last week that it would close throughout January, and has now been followed by city pubs the Duke of Wellington, the Trafford Arms and The Grove hotel and restaurant in Cromer. 

The Station Smokehouse at Hoveton has also announced it will close for a few days a week until it can reopen fully under tier one rules.

The Gull Inn at Framingham Pigot has also postponed its Christmas Day plans as 85pc of customers cancelled bookings. 

Chris Isgate is the manager at the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo Road. He said: "We're a very busy pub and sadly without households being able to mix inside it wasn't worth our costs of opening. 

The Duke of Wellington, Norwich. Photo: Mustard TV.

The Duke of Wellington, Norwich. Photo: Mustard TV. - Credit: Archant


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"We've furloughed our staff and we're happy to wait it out until we can come back again properly. We just don't want to be opening and then closing - we need some clear direction and strategy." 

Richard Graveling of the Grove said: "We had planned to shut around Christmas for a bit of redecorating anyway and just thought we might as well have a break. At the moment people just want to hunker down and keep safe and we entirely support that." 

Richard Graveling, who owns The Grove hotel in Cromer with his brother, said Saturday's restaurant r

Richard Graveling, who owns The Grove hotel in Cromer with his brother, said Saturday's restaurant re-opening went better than he could have hoped. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

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At the Gull Inn, plans had been underway to offer a full Christmas lunch service - but owner Steve Munson saw bookings drop by 85pc following recent announcements. 

He said: "We had a lot of tables booked in for Christmas with people hedging their bets that we would be in tier one.

"When we got the announcement that we would be in tier two we had a lot of families who had booked with grandparents or in-laws that then cancelled. 

"The numbers just kept dwindling and in the end it wasn't viable to open our kitchen on Christmas day. 

"Looking ahead to 2021 I don't think we'll be open on Mondays and Tuesdays for the first few months of the year and will focus on weekend trade instead. 

"If we had to pay rent on a building of this size instead of owning it I don't think we'd still be here.

"If I were an accountant I would still be looking at this industry and seeing the first nine months of next year as a write off." 

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