'It's not exactly going to help small businesses': Shropshire pub bosses have their say on 10pm curfew

Pubs, bars and restaurants across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are grappling with the new Government curfew, just months after opening their doors again after lockdown.

Landlord of the White Hart in Shifnal, Adam Caton gets set for a new closing time after the government impose a 10pm shutdown for pubs
Landlord of the White Hart in Shifnal, Adam Caton gets set for a new closing time after the government impose a 10pm shutdown for pubs

General manager of The Boathouse, in Shrewsbury, Demi Lesser said: "We will be shutting at 10pm and will be looking to start serving food earlier. We may consider serving brunch among our options. We can get people coming in at 9pm for a table, so we'll be looking at doing things differently to compensate for closing earlier."

Licensee of the Pheasant Inn, in Admaston, Sue Fletcher said: "The big issue for us would be the compulsory table service which would means having on an extra member of staff for a longer period. We would need one person on the bar and one person taking the drinks to the tables. We use a table app for orders, but the drinks still have to get from the bar to the customer. That will impact on the loss of revenue caused by the earlier closing time."

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Partners Matt Lorenz and Marie Ryley have long wanted to open a cocktail bar in Newport, Matt's hometown, and after years of work they are now close to opening Novella Craft & Cocktails in the town's old disused Barclays bank.

Matt, 25, said he could not see the logic in the new restrictions, condensing time for customers to drink into a smaller period and potentially leading to busier pubs.

Rachael Childlow (Business Director) and General manager (Demi Lesser) at the Boathouse Pub

"Personally I think it's a bit counterproductive making it so that the same people that are still wanting to go out will only have to condense into a smaller period of opening times, pushing more people into the bar at a time.

"It's not exactly going to help small businesses who are already struggling to navigate through all this at the minute."

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Nevertheless his excitement at realising their dream has not been dulled.

"I've been researching and planning this venture for years. We've been saving over the past few years, mostly in the past year in preparation for opening later on this year.

"[The pandemic] threw a lot of uncertainty our way in starting a brand new business. When lockdown hit we did start to panic a little about how we'd manage to pull this off. We've also just had our first child so looking after a newborn at the same time has not exactly helped with the sleepless nights.

"We'd like to think people will be ready to go out and try a new business. We'll be taking every measure we can to ensure that guests can enjoy a drink safely."

Landlord of the White Hart in Shifnal, Adam Caton

Adam Caton, landlord of the White Hart in Shifnal, said the new curfew will be hard on a lot of businesses, but they just have to adapt as best they can.

"I have the opportunity, being the owner of the White Hart, to have a bit more freedom in my decisions and tailor it to my customers," he said. "Its about restoring confidence and gaining people's confidence again.

"I do feel these restrictions earmark the whole industry, instead of meeting individual pubs' needs."

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