'It's put a dampener on Christmas' say hospitality bosses as borough remains in Tier 3

Owners of hospitality businesses in Preston have spoke of the 'awful news' that Lancashire will remain in Tier 3 over Christmas.

By James Holt
Friday, 18th December 2020, 9:50 am

It was announced today that the Government will continue treating the borough of Lancashire as the same, despite different rates of Covid-19.

The entire county will now enter the Christmas week - usually bursting with shoppers and diners - with the pubs, restaurants and hotels unable to welcome visitors.

And there remain fears that many may not survive without more Government help.

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Brothers Dave and Dan Valentine, recently opened their own BBQ restaurant Smokin V's, on Guildhall Street, after their success managing the kitchen at nearby pub Ships and Giggles.

Despite currently operating their takeaway Christmas market menu, they were prepared to open on their official launch night, December 1, with a full house of booked customers sure to make their venture a hit.

Tier 3 restrictions imposed on the county proved a barrier to these plans and, as Lancashire stays firmly in the highest risk category over the festive period, co-owner Dave has said it is 'awful' for hospitality businesses.

He said: "We were ready to go for our launch night but unfortunately, we were hit with the heavy restrictions which meant we couldn't open.

Smokin V's owners Dave and Dan Valentine said the news was 'awful'

"We quickly made the decision to adapt, as we couldn't wait any longer to start serving again since we've been shut up since March and launch our takeaway Christmas market menu.

"Being stuck in Tier 3 again is, to be honest, awful. We've spent the last four months doing up the new restaurant ourselves and we just want to share it with everybody.

"It's hitting the business pretty hard, but we are doing our best to pull through and determined to see the other side of this when we can welcome everyone in and re-launch with our full barbecue menu.

"Until then we will stay open with our takeaway menu and make the best of this horrid situation."

Bar and restaurant owner Andy Mac

Geoff Mason, policy manager for the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, told the Post earlier today: "The news that Lancashire will continue under Tier 3 restrictions will be devastating news for many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

"Many of these businesses have spent considerable time and money to put in place COVID-safe measures but have found themselves unable to operate in any capacity for months.

Remaining in Tier three, hospitality venues will continue to be restricted to takeaway service only and household mixing in all indoor and most outdoor settings will remain banned.

Preston BID hailed the announcement as 'another blow' for Lancashire people and businesses.

Restaurant owner Andy Mac, who manages Ships and Giggles alongside the Wellington Inn, Glovers Court, said: "This is absolutely devastating. I’m almost embarrassed to think that I was hoping we might be able to open for Christmas and try to bring some money in to help start paying off our substantial debt.

"It’s quite simple - the longer we are having to close, the more debt we will be in and the less likely it will be to recover. Now there are even more serious decisions to consider.

"Will it now take far too long to pay all the debt off we have recuperated since March? It’s becoming more and more difficult and the light at the end of the tunnel seems a mile away.

"If it wasn’t for my amazing management team, staff and our customers, I wouldn’t have any drive left to even thing about reopening.

"It’s tough times, and it’s put a serious dampener on Christmas. I will continue doing what I’m doing and be as positive as possible, but if I’m honest I’ll probably need at least a week to sulk and shake off this new devastating blow."

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