Tier 3 decision leaves Northumberland restaurateur with Christmas bookings to cancel and surplus of seasonal food

A Northumberland restaurateur has been left with a Christmas headache following the decision to keep the county in the toughest level of Covid restrictions.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:52 pm

A Government review of the latest data has concluded that Northumberland should stay in Tier 3 which means pubs and restaurants must remain closed except for takeaways.

Phil Farmer, owner of the Cook and Barker Inn at Newton-on-the-Moor, is now having to cancel Christmas bookings and ponder what to do with seasonal stock.

“It is obviously extremely disappointing that we remain in Tier 3,” he said.

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Will and Phil Farmer of The Cook and Barker Inn, Newton-on-the-Moor.

“We have to keep trying to make the best of it. However, it is costing money to keep opening and closing and with the late news we remain in Tier 3 we have had to prepare for Christmas opening.

"We now have seasonal stock that we had to buy in readiness for Christmas Day, as we had a large number of bookings, which we now cannot use.”

He has called for more Government support for the hospitality sector with a warning that this could spell the end for some.

"There is a lack of financial support for the hospitality industry as a whole and without it many businesses will just not survive,” he predicted.

"The Prime Minister was asked to bring forward a proposed financial support scheme for the hospitality industry yesterday by the MP Liz Twist, notably not our MP, but failed to commit to do so.

"The furlough scheme is extended until the end of April which is great for staff but no such support is being provided to businesses.

"At a time when we should be making money to support ourselves in January and February, when traditionally business is quieter, we are facing the new year with virtually no income and it is difficult to see how we can be expected to pay the HMRC bills we face in January.”

He added: “We would like to thank all our loyal customers for their unwavering support for us. I genuinely appreciate the great support we have received this year in what has been the most difficult trading year in all my career. I hope everyone stays safe and we can look forward to a better 2021.”

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