Night-time economy faces 'bleak future' without support

A bar and restaurant boss has warned the night-time economy faces a "very bleak future" unless the government offers fresh support.

Martin Monahan, owner of nightspots The Buttermarket and Havana Republic
Martin Monahan, owner of nightspots The Buttermarket and Havana Republic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that pubs must close at 10pm as part of new restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The move has come as a major blow to Shrewsbury's night-time economy and Martin Monahan, owner of nightspots The Buttermarket and Havana Republic, believes it will be "increasingly difficult" to keep workers employed.

He said: "It's a worrying time for everyone. We've gone on a rollercoaster journey of highs and lows – and just when you think we're getting somewhere, this news comes.

"Our first priority is to try and protect the jobs. That is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain now.

"Obviously, we're still waiting to see how things will look at the end of October when the furlough scheme ends.

"I think there now needs to be some further support for our sector. We're going to have to make some very difficult decisions.

"The Buttermarket has been operating in pub mode and it has been extremely well managed using a two-metre rule rather than one metre.

"It's going to be difficult now because The Buttermarket and Havana are both late night venues.

"It's looking like a very bleak future for late night venues in the short term."

Mr Monahan said he was still going to operate both venues and then "see how it goes".

"People are used to coming out at about 10pm, just when the curfew is being imposed," he said.

"We hope people will support the night time economy.

"The issue for me is, would it be better for people to be in Covid-secure venues or have house parties where there is no control? Who knows.

"If this is what is required, I'm all for it. There will have to be changes. There will be less hours available. We've got to try and protect our employees.

"We need to embrace it and do what needs to be done."

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