Pub and restaurant bosses warn new Covid restrictions could ‘destroy’ sector

Chef and Norwich restaurant owner Roger Hickman. Picture: Archant

Chef and Norwich restaurant owner Roger Hickman. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Hospitality bosses have said the Government’s latest pandemic tier system will “destroy the sector” as pubs, bars and restaurants face a raft of tougher measures.

Pubs will be able to open until 11pm after lockdown but will face new restrictions. Picture: Getty I

Pubs will be able to open until 11pm after lockdown but will face new restrictions. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Boris Johnson revealed that tightened Tier 2 measures mean venues will only serve alcohol alongside a substantial meal.

Meanwhile, new Tier 3 measures mean pubs and restaurants will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services, while indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will close.

The prime minister also announced that 10pm curfew will be relaxed, with last orders now closed at that time and premises ordered to shut at 11pm.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King, which has pubs across the region, said: “We’ve invested millions of pounds to make our pubs safe throughout this pandemic but today it feels like pubs have been unfairly singled out once again with increased restrictions that will make pubs across the country unviable through the most important month of the year.”

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose in Norwich. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

MORE: Shops, gyms, pubs reopen and fans back into football as PM says lockdown ends on December 2Rob Pitcher, chief executive of bar chain Revolution, which includes a bar in Norwich, said that although the curfew extension was “beneficial”, it would not offset the impact of tighter tiered measures.


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“It will make scant difference if large parts of the country are in Tier 2 and Tier 3,” he said.

Dawn Hopkins, landlord of the Rose Inn on Queens Road in Norwich, said the substantial meal rule would be damaging for many wet-led pubs, and would make the benefits of having the 10pm curfew scrapped “meaningless”.

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Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said: “The additional restrictions will destroy our sector if they go ahead as proposed.

“In Tier 2 alone, the new restrictions will mean 90pc of pubs will be unviable and will only be able to operate at a

loss.”

Roger Hickman, chef and owner of Roger Hickman’s Restaurant in Norwich, said businesses would be pinning their hopes on Norfolk remaining in the lowest possible tier.

He said: “It is crucially important that Norfolk remains in Tier 1, and with current infection rates we certainly should exit lockdown back into that tier. Then it will be up to all of us to ensure we stay there.

“The hospitality industry will not be able to fully recover until there is an effective vaccine which has been widely distributed, but at least today’s announcement means we will be able to start the road to recovery during the important Christmas period.”

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