Pubs booked up for Christmas dinner despite Covid rules row

Two men standing cross-armed in front of pub

Greg Adjemian and Dan Smith are selling the Warwick Street Social business. - Credit: Archant

Order books are full at pubs across Norfolk with Christmas around the corner - but landlords are biting their tongues over households mixing on Christmas day. 

The prime minister has come under fire in recent days as coronavirus cases rise with plans seemingly going ahead to let up to three households mix from December 23 to 27. 

However these groups will only be able to do so in homes instead of in pubs and restaurants, which has been criticised by hospitality industry leaders as a "mockery". 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), has said government “is making a mockery by banning us from allowing people to mix and meet together but has a Christmas plan that allows the public to do that in private, unregulated and unsafe settings where all bets are off". 

At the Temple Bar in Norwich's Unthank Road owner Adrian Joyce has only been open on Sundays for its famous roasts. 

With order books full Mr Joyce said the call on household mixing is a tough one: "From a business perspective it just makes me think we'll be locked down even harder in January which will have a really bad impact.

Plans have been submitted to turn the car park of The Temple Bar into a beer garden. Picture: Adrian

Plans have been submitted to turn the car park of The Temple Bar into a beer garden. Picture: Adrian Judd - Credit: Archant Norfolk 2011

"From a personal point of view it's been a really tough year and I think people need a bit of a break.

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"We usually do about 170 roast dinners on the one day a week we're open - now we're doing about 122 with tables turning over. We are doing tables of two and three instead of six or so which has made the biggest difference to sales." 

Greg Adjemian is the co-owner of G&D Ventures which runs the Ingham Swan in north Norfolk, the Warwick Street Social in Norwich and the Wildebeest at Stoke Holy Cross. 

Similarly, Mr Adjemian will see sites busy but says that this adds pressure on staff: "I think when we reopened after the first lockdown the public was more cautious about the rules. The second time around the emphasis has fallen more to the venues. 

"I can see why the government is keeping the rules in place and we are doing everything we can to remind people of them."

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