South Shields landlady vows to ‘hang fire until the last minute’ before deciding to close her pubs

Gina Smith, 58, from South Shields says “I will hang fire until the last minute” before making a decision to close her pubs following the Prime Minister’s announcement to avoid public gatherings.

By Ryan Smith
Thursday, 19th March 2020, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 4:26 pm

Gina Smith, 58, from South Shields who runs both The Mechanics Arms and The Lambton Arms says that she will “hang fire until the last minute” before she makes a decision on whether to close her businesses.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday, March 16 where he told the public to avoid bars and restaurants in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

However, when making the announcement, he stopped short of legally ordering venues to close.

The Lambton Arms and The Mechanics Arms.

Since the announcement, many venues across the region have made the decision to shut.

Gina said “I would rather he (Boris) had announced a full lock down, at least then the worry would stop.

“My staff are starting to panic, they keep asking me if they will be paid.”

She is trying to reassure her staff as much as she can, adding: “I’ve said that I will hang fire for as long as possible before I make a decision.”

In the meantime, Gina has began to put measures in place to try and ease the financial strain.

“I have been tweaking our trading hours, opening the pubs later, closing them sooner.

“I’m deciding whether to shut The Lambton Arms on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to try and save some money so I don’t have to let people go.”

It isn’t just her staff that Gina is worried about, her customers are also causing her concern.

“For some of our older regulars, coming in for a pint with their friends is their only lifeline. They are alone the rest of the time so I worry about them if I was to close.”

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