Preston pub becomes 'restaurant' overnight to beat the ban
Publican Gavin Corless will turn into a restaurant boss overnight to make sure his Preston alehouse stays open under the new Covid restrictions.
Although the Market Tavern is normally just a "wet" pub, it will be re-branded into an eating place in time to avoid the big shutdown at midnight tonight.
"It's not really all that difficult," said Gavin as he served his regular drinkers on the last day of beer-only sales.
"We've got a kitchen in full working order. All I need to do is to make room in the fridge and clear a space for a microwave.
"By tomorrow lunchtime we'll be serving food."
Under the new rules announced today pubs and bars must shut down tonight unless they serve "substantial" meals to all their customers. No-one is allowed to just have a drink.
But what constitutes a substantial meal is up for debate. And Gavin says he's not planning anything fancy, just as long as he can prove his customers have all had something to eat.
"They have to order food - that's everyone - to be able to get a drink," he said. "But does that mean they've got to eat it?
"And how do the authorities know when they check up whether someone had a meal earlier. I suppose there are going to be dirty dishes on the tables just to show food has been eaten.
"I know the Government have to do something to stop the rise in Covid cases. But personally I think they should have shut all the pubs, not just some of them.
"Landlords like me are now thinking of ways to stay open and I accept that isn't in the spirit of what we are trying to achieve. But businesses have to survive."