Newport landlord worries new restrictions will push drinkers into unsafe gatherings

One pub landlord fears the Government's latest coronavirus row back will hurt pubs' income and simply move social gatherings underground into unsafe environments.

Darren Wood at the New Inn, Newport. He has slammed the Government's latest announcement compelling pubs to close at 10pm
Darren Wood at the New Inn, Newport. He has slammed the Government's latest announcement compelling pubs to close at 10pm

The New Inn of Newport already closes at 10pm from Mondays to Thursdays, but at the weekends is often lively much later than that – in normal circumstances at least.

Now, as per the latest English restrictions, pubs will have to close their doors at 10pm every day or face a fine.

The New Inn has complied with regulations throughout the lockdown and the reopen earlier this summer, with its own track and trace system and limits on table sizes in place even before the 'rule of six' on gatherings.

Landlord Darren Wood said the new rules would just see drinkers who are told to leave at 10pm find other, less well-regulated places to carry on their evenings. He also feared it would affect customer confidence in pubs as safe places to go.

"My view is that all it does is force people into house parties, which are not controlled and not Covid-safe. You're taking them out of a controlled environment and potentially forcing them into house parties which are not controlled whatsoever.

"I think the main concern is once again, the general public will be concerned by this and feel things are getting much worse, when in reality the hospitality industry is a safe place to be.

"These are controlled environments. All you are doing is moving the problem out of these environments."

He also said that running a pub which serves hot meals, the reduced opening hours will mean he can take far fewer late bookings.

"You're not going to be able to take 8pm, 8.30pm bookings anymore. You can't force people to order their food, have hot meals delivered and get out in less than two hours.

"Potentially we are losing another 10 tables' worth of bookings, which is a lot of lost income."

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