Pubs, cafes and restaurants ‘horrified’ at idea of further lockdowns

Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams, said he is hopeful pubs will be enjoyable while remaining safe Picture...

Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams, said he is hopeful pubs will be enjoyable while remaining safe Picture: JAMES BEDFORD/ADNAMS - Credit: Archant

Hospitality businesses in Suffolk have said they would be “horrified” if they were included in further lockdown restrictions following rumblings that pubs, cafes and restaurants could be ordered to close.

The news comes as Westminster sources suggested that Number 10 is looking at locking down certain areas with high infection rates such as Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

These could be in line with the measures outlined for Scotland, with pubs in the central bank ordered to close on Friday and cafes which do not serve alcohol asked to shut earlier.

But businesses in the East of England have appealed to government for a plan of the way out of the restrictions, saying that venues in this region have kept cases under control.

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Nick Attfield, head of properties at Adnams, said the pubs he manages have followed the government guidelines stringently and have not experienced anyone drunkenly breaking the rules.

He said: “I very much hope and believe that we would be in our region would be in a bottom tier area, given the low number of cases that we’re continuing to experience. I would be surprised and shocked if we were in anything other than the bottom tier.

“We have stuck to the legislation. We have adapted to all the changes over the last three months. We’re responsible alcohol retailers and by following rule of six and having seated table service it’s much easier to prevent people from breaking social distancing rules.”

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Mr Attfield went on to say he was not a fan of restricting alcohol sales past a certain time.

“I will be horrified if that’s the case.

“My frustration with this approach is that alcohol is being demonised as the problem for not maintaining social distancing,” he said.

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Mike Garling, owner of the LP nightclub in Bury St Edmunds, called for the government to provide businesses with some idea about the next six months.

“I think there needs to be a clear roadmap of how we’re going to get back to normality,” he said. “That’s what they haven’t provided from the outset. And that’s the difficulty for business. We can’t plan.”

Mr Garling said the government should support parts of the economy that are struggling to trade and to allow regions with low Covid rates to have more freedom.