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e is feeling nervous about tomorrow’s announcement. “I’m not sure I’ll sleep all that much tonight!”

Licensee Daniel Whitehead knows all too well the weight of local restrictions, operating the Lowerhouse Inn in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

He told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ his wet-led site was only viable in tier one but expects the area to be plunged into tier three after lockdown.

“Being in Oldham, Greater Manchester, we have consistently been the worst Covid affected town in the district and sometimes the worst in England as a whole.

“Obviously we are feeling really unsure at the moment, whether to carry on or call it quits and seek another career path. Like many others, we’re not sure how much longer we can survive like this.”

Hope in tier one

Operator Piers Baker runs the Sun Inn, Dedham on the Essex/Suffolk border and the Church Street Tavern in Colchester, Essex and has a similar concern.

He was previously operating under tier two measures, with mixing between different households not allowed indoors.

He said: “If we get to reopen in tier one, there is hope and the light is bright. The extension of the curfew in this respect is good.

“If we get to reopen in tier two, it is likely we will operate at a loss. We had two weeks of tier two and made a loss. But that was with some ‘drinks only’ trade. That has now been stopped. So the curfew extension makes no difference in tier two.”

Baker said he needed to have further discussions with his landlords as his previous rent agreements did not cover tier two.

He added he was still crunching numbers but had a hunch that tier two would not be economically viable. “We might be able to open for December and make a loss, but we would need to close in January to stop that loss,” he added.

Sally Pickles operates the Bowgie Inn, a destination site in Newquay, Cornwall, which was reporting relatively low coronavirus rates before the lockdown.

bowgie inn

Although her site would be able to adjust to a requirement to serve food with alcohol, she is worried about the impact of the tiered system on tourism trade.

Residents of tier three areas have been instructed to avoid travelling out of their area for non-essential journeys and residents elsewhere warned to not visit tier three places.

“We are reliant on visitors,” Pickles explained.

She will open bookings for the inn when a tier is announced but only seven days in advance. “We are wary rules might change,” she said. “The key is you have to be able to adapt as things change or develop. It’s just part and parcel of it all, it’s always a balancing act but more so this year.”

Pickles anticipated “a bit of excitement” in the first few days of opening but believes people will want to do Christmas shopping when the shops reopen which could deter customers.

Here is what The MA’s​ readers said on social media when asked their thoughts ahead of the announcement.


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