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‘We will remain open’ - Pubs fighting to stay open amid coronavirus social distancing

PUBLISHED: 10:30 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:29 18 March 2020

The bar at the Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Norwich. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery Tap

The bar at the Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Norwich. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery Tap

Fat Cat Brewery Tap

Pub landlords are fighting to remain open where possible, amid uncertainty over government advice to avoid “non-essential contact” in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The latest Downing Street briefing from prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday evening said that people “should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues” as part of those restrictions - with the advice of particular importance for people over the age of 70, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.

However, with public venues such as pubs not yet told they need to close, it has left businesses in a state of limbo.

MORE: Landlord’s stark warning after government announcement



Among the many pubs posting on social media to let their customers know their situation is the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, in Sprowston Road, Norwich.

“The show… must go on,” a post on Facebook said. “We have the best team and customers in the world. We will remain open. We have amazing beer and until we are told otherwise, we will serve it.

“We have a load of extra hygiene protocols in place in order to keep our staff and customers safe BUT don’t be a fool… only come in if you’re feeling fit and awesome!”

And The Cottage in Thunder Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, also took to social media to update their locals, saying: “Those of us in the hospitality trade were delivered a broadside from our leader yesterday when he advised the nation to stop going into pubs, restaurants, theatres etc without giving any of us any guidance on how to keep our businesses afloat... I believe Boris’ words were well enough chosen to avoid insurance claims. Therefore we are on our own.

“Here at The Cottage we are very proud of our loyal and hard working team and very proud of our five-star food hygiene rating which we have held for many years.

“So bearing in mind The Cottage as an employer has 30 members of the team, all of whom rely on us to provide an income to put food on their table too, it will be very much business as usual while it is safe to continue to do so, and until the government instruct us to close our doors.

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“We have introduced even more stringent cleaning, disinfecting and working practices with immediate effect so that we can continue to serve our friends, customers and the community as a whole for as long as possible. We will also be considering food deliveries in the coming days and further details will be provided as they evolve.

“If you believe you have any sign of the Covid-19 virus please, please, please do not come to The Cottage: customers or staff.

“We also ask that all customers please wash their hands thoroughly before entering The Cottage. We can all do our bit. So thank you all for continuing to use The Cottage and please stay safe. Ian, Lorraine and the team.”

MORE: Norfolk distilleries start making hand sanitiser to combat coronavirus



Meanwhile, landlords of The Cock in Norwich Street, Dereham, Steve Garner and Jane Howard, are hoping that outdoor facilities will allow them to remain open as the weather improves.

Their Facebook post stated: “The Cock is, and will remain open.

“Our pub is of course thoroughly cleaned every day anyway, and all our staff are following government guidelines regarding extra/frequent hand washing etc.

“Our music schedule will not be changed by us, but we will of course notify immediately if any bands cancel.

“As the weather improves our outside area will come more in to play. We’ve cleared the area, put up festoon lights and are adding various plants etc to make this area a lovely place to sit outside and enjoy a drink. More tables will be added very soon to extend the al fresco fun!”

The Cock is also offering two-pint and four-pint takeaway containers, while another method being offered to customers at the Murderers in Timberhill, Norwich, is free plastic gloves to provide added protection.

- Click here to join our Norfolk Coronavirus Updates group on Facebook for all the latest updates in your community

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