Alnwick publican fears difficult time for hospitality trade after Tier 3 closure confirmed

An Alnwick publican is counting the cost of lost Christmas trade after Northumberland was placed in Tier 3 restrictions.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 12:00 pm

The announcement that pubs and restaurants must remain closed after lockdown ends on December 2 was greeted with disappointment, if not surprise, by Mark Jones, owner of The Dirty Bottles on Narrowgate.

He said: “We are disappointed that we’re not going to be able to open in what historically is a very profitable time for hospitality.

"However, even with the restrictions in Tier 2 it would not be trading as normal. We would normally take a lot of money on Boxing Day but that is mainly drinkers, not people wanting a substantial meal.

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The Dirty Bottles in Alnwick.

"This is going to hurt a lot of hospitality businesses because the support is not there. There are grants available but for a lot of places they will not cover the rent or mortgage. For example, our contribution to this month’s payroll – even with furlough – is about £10,000. That takes a lot of clawing back.

"For a place like Alnwick at Christmas, the hospitality venues being closed will have a knock on impact on the local economy.

"We have a lot of independent retailers and a lot of people will come and have a drink here and you’ll see them with their shopping bags.

"The restrictions may be reviewed every 14 days so technically it may be possible to reopen on December 16 if there is a change in the tiers but even that would create its problems in knowing what to order."

"The extension would have come into its own over the Christmas period,” admitted Mark. “We could have used it to host Christmas parties and live music but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

"These things are out of our control though. We will use the time to improve and become even more successful, gearing up towards Easter when we’ll hopefully have the vaccine rolled out. Unfortunately not everyone will get there unless there is greater support.

"I don’t want to paint a picture of complete doom and gloom but it’s going to be a difficult time as the Chancellor laid out quite starkly.”

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