‘It makes no difference to us’: South Tyneside pub landlords react to being placed in Tier 4
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South Tyneside has faced tough restrictions for months which forced pubs and restaurants to closure, with some able to serve takeaway services.
But landlords say they feel the latest development pushes them further still from returning to normality, with some believing pubs won’t reopen before Easter, which falls in early April.
Gareth Carr owns the Crown & Anchor and the Incontri Kitchen restaurant upstairs in the Chapel Road pub after he took over in November 2019.
The venue spent £100,000 on refurbishments during the first lockdown. Both pub and restaurant are doing takeaways and deliveries of beer, cases of wine and meals.
Gareth remains optimistic and said: “It makes no difference to us. Tiers 3 and 4 are really just the same. I feel really sorry for everyone who is affected by moving to Tier 4.
“I think we’ll be okay to open again at Easter. I was hoping we could reopen in two weeks time, but that’s not going to happen.”
Carl Mowatt, manager at the Lakeside Inn in Wardley, is glad he had a successful Christmas.
He said: “We were half expecting this announcement with cases accumulating as much as they were. We’ve been closed this week with things being quite quiet after Christmas. We had a really good week with takeaways at Christmas.
"So it’s fair to say we were prepared. We’ll still be offering a takeaway service going into January. We'll be putting some kind of deal together to try and entice customers to come back in the new year.
"Hopefully we can still operate at this level in early 2021, even if everything else is on hold for a while longer. We did almost 400 Christmas lunches, so we were really satisfied with that for now."
Tenant Jess McConnell said: “Back on November 4, before we went into lockdown, we had a tongue-in-cheek event which was half Christmas and half St Patrick’s Day. We should have added Easter on to that too, because we’ll be lucky if we’re back then.
“Even if we were in Tier 2 we’re a wet pub, so the substantial meal thing wouldn’t work for us either. It’s not looking good for us for a while.
“We’re managing to pay the basic bills and we’ve had good support from our freeholder. We should be okay.”
The Red Hackle on Perth Road is not doing takeaways either. Manager Lee Hughes is waiting to see what happens next.
He said: “You couldn’t print what I’d really like to say. I always thought Easter would be our ‘New Year’. But I’m more hopeful than optimistic. The hospitality sector has been treated abominably. It wasn’t this industry that spread covid.
“We did the track and trace and all that, unlike some shops, yet we’re the ones paying the price.”