Tier 2 as good as lockdown, says Shropshire restaurateur as landlord fears for future

One Shropshire restaurateur is struggling to digest the latest coronavirus restrictions for Shropshire, saying that a ban on people mixing indoors means the hospitality industry might as well be back in lockdown.

The Town House in Market Drayton. Pic: Google Street View
The Town House in Market Drayton. Pic: Google Street View

Daniel Derrington of the Town House in Market Drayton was reacting to this week's confirmation that Shropshire (and Telford & Wrekin) will soon be subject to Tier 2 restrictions in the fight against Covid-19.

He said that since the announcement, he has had customers calling to cancel bookings that had been set for after the current lockdown ends on December 2.

Because socialising with other households indoors will still be against the rules, virtually all of his bookings are null.

"It's a confusing one," he said. "We originally planned to open the restaurant from next Thursday [December 3] and carry on our takeaway as well as dining in.

"We've had some cancellations already, the people were from two separate households.

"It's looking likely that we will change our plans and just continue takeaways.

"Although we'll be in Tier 2, we might as well be in lockdown.

"I just presumed that we would be allowed to mix two groups in a Covid-secure restaurant."

The successful launch of the Town House's takeaway service (500 tapas dishes were sold last week, and 600 the prior week) has been the "saving grace" of the lockdown, keeping staff in work and keeping the restaurant's name on people's lips.

Mr Derrington also said that he was grateful for the support of people in Market Drayton keeping the restaurant going.

"We've been so well-supported," he said. "People constantly message and say they're missing us and they order, that's absolutely fantastic.

"That means we can stay open."

Shropshire landlord welcomes Tier 2 return but fears tough times ahead

A Shropshire landlord who has seen his pub through one of its most turbulent periods welcomed the news that pubs can soon reopen, but feared that tough times await in the new year.

Darren Wood of the New Inn in Newport said that his pub takes almost two thirds of its money through drinks as opposed to food, and said that the requirement for a 'substantial meal' to serve drinkers will likely hit the trade.

He is hoping to break even this month when in normal times he would expect to take 20 per cent of the year's earnings in December – which can be crucial to get through the traditionally leaner months that follow.

Pubs and other hospitality businesses will be able to reopen next week, after the announcement that Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin will move into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.

It means that meeting people from other households will still be banned, but that pubs can serve drinkers on the premises again, albeit only alongside a 'substantial meal'.

Mr Wood said: "It's the substantial meal that's going to be a tricky one. The split is that we do 65 per cent drinks and 35 per cent food, that's a lot to have to replace.

"It will be good to be opening and hopefully people will come out and support it, and continue to follow the rules.

Darren Wood of the New Inn in Newport

"We're going to be offering a range of different meals so we can cater for everybody's requirements.

"I feel very sorry for wet pubs who really rely on it, who probably won't be able to open at all.

"It is frustrating for everyone at the moment. We were hoping to go back into Tier 1 after a short lockdown.

"You have to stay positive. If we can break even in December that will be a huge result for us.

"The important thing is we've got to break this and battle the Covid.

"My view is that hospitality isn't to blame for it – but we are really being clobbered for it."

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News