‘Very depressing’: the delay to full reopening is a bitter blow to pubs

·2 min read

Dawn Hopkins, who runs the Rose Inn in Norwich, had been looking forward to 21 June. That is until Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the lifting of final coronavirus restrictions on Monday.

“When the PM first announced the roadmap and June 21 was talked about, I did cry,” she said. “It just felt like we had some chance of getting back to normality, not just the trade but personally. We’ve been looking forward to it,” said Hopkins, adding that a delay was “very depressing”.

The Rose Inn has been running with 40% reduced capacity on typical days owing to Covid-19 restrictions. Hopkins said that like other pubs around England, the Rose Inn now stood to miss out on income from hosting screenings of the Euro 2020 football tournament, just when the pubs and the industry needed it most.

“We had the England match on and I could have 20 people seated with social distancing,” she said. “Usually I’d have two or three times that, and that’s going to have a huge impact. I’ve had party bookings cancelled because people thought they could get together and mingle, which they can’t do now. Events are going to be the issue – the Euros and party bookings.”

While social distancing requirements reduce capacity and lead to a flood of cancelled bookings, the Rose Inn’s costs will remain higher than usual for as long as restrictions stay in place.

“You have to have extra staff for table service and everything has gone up, all of our costs,” said Hopkins.

“My pub’s only open four days a week at the moment and that’s because on the quieter days I can’t afford to have staff running it. I’m doing 14-hour days when we’re open and also working on the days when we aren’t.”

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