Pub owner slams ‘disastrous’ decision to reopen as he prepares for ‘whole new experience’
- Credit: Archant
A coastal publican has slammed the decision to reopen venues while people are still dying, warning visiting your local will be a whole new experience.
The Stanford Arms, in Lowestoft, will not be reopening on Saturday, July 4, with owner David Burd preparing to introduce a range of changes to keep customers safe, including banning those coming in from the street.
Aiming to reopen later this month, Mr Burd has labelled this weekend’s round of reopenings “a disaster waiting to happen.”
He said: “We won’t be opening on Saturday. It’s a little bit early for us and the government didn’t give a lot of time to plan, and we couldn’t make plans until we knew what the guidelines were going to be.
“When we do reopen it’s going to have to be a totally different concept.
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“Just opening and letting people in off the street, even in limited numbers, just to drink is a disaster waiting to happen.
“We knew about social distancing when we closed, but by the end of the night, after a few pints, everyone was hugging and kissing each other goodbye.
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“It is too early, I think, for pubs to be open again. We shouldn’t really be in the position to reopen them until the number of deaths is down to about 10-15, not when it’s still in the hundreds.”
When the pub does reopen, with Mr Burd aiming for later this month, customers will need to book online for parties of up to eight.
He said: “The fact that everything is changing and the furlough scheme is coming to an end, I need to open.
“It is all about customer safety and if it limits what we can do then so be it.
“When the council come for an inspection, I want them to say we are the safest pub in Lowestoft.
“We can’t reopen as a place where people can walk in for a beer any time, it’s got to be a whole new business model.
“It will be bookings only, for parties of up to eight people, and we can have three parties distanced around the pub with no chance of cross-contamination.
“Food will be essential because people need something to absorb the alcohol, especially if they haven’t drank a lot in months.
The pub has been running a takeaway food and real ale service while closed, with Mr Burd set to carry it on for those anxious about returning to pubs.
He said: “We have been doing takeaway beer and food and I will keep doing that.
“Some people aren’t happy about going back to a pub so I will carry on doing it for them while the demand is there.”