South Tyneside businesses react to Boris Johnson's latest Covid-19 battleplan

New coronavirus rules have been met with both hope and despair by South Tyneside businesses.

Pub and restaurant bosses fear they may remain in limbo following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest announcement on the virus crisis.

With full details of the new three tier system being announced on Thursday, some believe they will face fresh financial hardship if they cannot fully reopen.

A number said they would even prefer to be forced to stay closed – to benefit from possible government financial support.

South Tyneside businesses have reacted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest announcement on the virus crisis.

But with leisure services reopening when the four-week lockdown ends next Wednesday, December 2, gym bosses have breathed a sigh of relief.

Fitness expert Adam Henson, 30, who runs The Body Transformation Zone in South Shields, said: “It is very good news that we can restart.

“Even if some restrictions had remained, I would have hoped one-to-one training, carried out at a safe distance, would have been allowed.

“To maintain good mental and physical health, people need to be able to exercise, and so I welcome these new rules, which mean they can return to gyms.”

Shahanoor Choudhury owner and director of Zeera Restaurant. Picture by FRANK REID

But Shah Choudhury, 42, owner of Zeera Indian Cuisine, in Ocean Road, South Shields, said: “We are a restaurant and take-away services are just a small percentage of our business.

“It is more beneficial for us to close, rather than have restrictions like having to close at 10pm.

“Our building is an expensive overhead, as are our staff and in order to safeguard their jobs, it is better for the restaurant to remain closed, as there is government help if that’s the case.

“As much as we would prefer to operate our restaurant as we’ve always done, before this pandemic, we have to be realistic.

Fitness expert Adam Henson, 30, who runs The Body Transformation Zone in South Shields

“Operating at a loss, for long periods of time, isn’t an option anymore.”

And Kath Brain, 40, licensee of the Steamboat pub at the Mill Dam, South Shields, warned rapid clarity of the new rules was essential.

She said: “I don’t serve food, and so may not be able to reopen. Even if the former tier 2 restrictions come back, I think I’d prefer to stay closed.

“I’d still only be able to have 20 people in the pub at any one time, which isn’t going to help with Christmas and New Year approaching.

Steamboat landlady Kath Brain unhappy with latest government restrictions.

“Ideally, I hope it’s tier 1, meaning that households can mix, but it may be better that we have to close so I can look to get financial support.

“I don’t think it’s going to be good news on Thursday, I don’t think we will open again this year.”

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