Pub owners urge Government to guarantee full easing of restrictions by June

11 April 2021, 13:10

By Seán Hickey

Until all Covid restrictions are lifted on hospitality, business owners cannot cover the losses incurred over the last year, a number of publicans have told LBC.

Coronavirus restrictions in England are set to ease in England on Monday, with non-essential businesses such as pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail allowed reopen under restrictions. "give people an insight into how difficult it has been"

Tim Foster runs four pubs in London and the South East and spoke to Andrew Castle to give an impression of the struggles that publicans have faced over the last year.

"We collapsed with about £150,000 worth of debt," the pub boss claimed. He went on to explain that the lack of clarity put he and other businesspeople in desperate situations.

He told Andrew that "the yo-yo effect of open/close...gave us no indication of how we'd be supported."

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"In 25 years this is definitely the hardest 18 months I've ever had to experience."

Mr Foster added that "being told we have to close down again" would break him and his business, and told LBC that "we need to focus" on the June 21st unlock so businesses can operate viably again.

The co-founder of hospitality group Inception Charlie Gilkes also joined Andrew to stress the need for businesses to be allowed operate fully come June.

"Hopefully this roadmap now is irreversible," the pub and restaurant boss said, predicting a slow return to normality for the industry.

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Mr Gilkes, like Mr Foster scoffed at the idea of needing a Covid Passport to be allowed into any of his pubs. He told Andrew that the plan is simply the Government "trying to get younger people to get the vaccine," and "it shouldn't be necessary" given the UK's successful vaccine rollout.

Tim Tomlinson owns three pubs and is also Chair of Pub Watch in Lancaster. He spoke to Tom Swarbrick about the easing of lockdown on Monday, while also assuring listeners that the lifting of restrictions isn't the great unlock some might believe it is.

"I'd rather be open than closed," he began, before stressing that "we won't be making any big money out of this, our capacity is way down."

He told Tom that his establishments will serve a fraction of the customers it would usually, despite being fully booked under the guidance.

"There's not an awful lot of money to be made," the publican concluded.