Landlords ‘horrified’ by threat of further restrictions on Norfolk

Nick Attfield (left) and Greg Adjemian (right) have both appealed to government not to lock Norfolk

Nick Attfield (left) and Greg Adjemian (right) have both appealed to government not to lock Norfolk down. Pictures: Adnams/Getty/Archant - Credit: Adnams/Getty/Archant

Hospitality businesses in Norfolk have pleaded with the government to be left out of further lockdown restrictions following rumblings that pubs, cafes and restaurants could be ordered to close.

The news comes as Westminster sources suggested that Number 10 is looking at locking down certain areas with high infection rates such as Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

These could be in line with the measures outlined for Scotland, with pubs in the central bank ordered to close on Friday and cafes which do not serve alcohol asked to shut earlier.

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But businesses in the East of England have appealed to government for “trust”, saying that this region has proved it can keep the R rate under control.

Greg Adjemian runs three pubs across Norfolk: the Warwick Street Social, the Ingham Swan and the Wildebeest.

He said: “I think our message is just ‘Trust us’. We as a business, and many others like us, are doing all we can to keep our staff and customers safe and our infection rate is showing it’s working. I believe that the next Covid-19 stage will be these local lockdowns and I hope that both national and regional government realise the opportunity for autonomy in areas like East Anglia.

“It would be a huge shame if we lost businesses which have tried to adapt – abiding by social distancing and all other guidance – when there could have been another way of doing it.”

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He was echoed by Nick Attfield, head of properties at Adnams, an independent brewery which runs shops and pubs across East Anglia.

He said: “I very much hope and believe that we would be in our region would be in a bottom tier area, given the low number of cases that we’re continuing to experience. I would be surprised and shocked if we were in anything other than the bottom tier.

“We have stuck to the legislation. We have adapted to all the changes over the last three months. We’re responsible alcohol retailers and by following rule of six and having seated table service it’s much easier to prevent people from breaking social distancing rules.”

Mr Attfield went on to say he was not a fan of restricting alcohol sales past a certain time - as has been done in Scotland.

“I will be horrified if that’s the case.

“My frustration with this approach is that alcohol is being demonised as the problem for not maintaining social distancing,” he said. “I think we all agree that when you’ve had a few drinks, you do become a little bit more amorous and you do forget things but people are behaving in a different way at the moment.”