'We’re just trying to get back on our feet': Midlands pubs facing up to yet more tough times

“I think this new ruling is going to have a longer term effect on the whole hospitality business and become survival of the fittest.”

Karl Gardner at his pub The Waterfall, in Cradley Heath
Karl Gardner at his pub The Waterfall, in Cradley Heath

Landlords and pub regulars across the region have reacted with frustration at the new coronavirus restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Bobby Basran, who runs the New Merridale pub in Wolverhampton, said: “In the short term, it’s going to impact our sales and, in the longer term, it’s going to have a bigger blow than closing for three months.”

Bobby Basran at the New Merridale pub in Wolverhampton

Paula-Jayne Lomas, landlady at the Dog & Partridge in Calf Heath, near Four Ashes, said the new restrictions would have an impact on small village pubs such as hers and criticised the decision.

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She said: “I’m not sure why pubs are even being hit with this rule, it’s not the pubs that are the issue. We had Eat Out to Help Out a while back and everyone was rushing to the pubs, it was not a problem then was it? It’s just another kick for the pub trade.”

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People enjoying a pint at the Dog & Partridge gave their views on the new restrictions, with 57-year-old Graham Bromley saying it would have a negative impact on pubs like the Dog & Partridge.

He said: “I think you’re going to lose the drinking trade because you’ve got the diners in as I come down when they’re finished, as do a lot of other people.”

Landlady Paula-Jayne Lomas, and landlord Glen Lomas, outside the Dog & Partridge, Calf Heath

But Kenneth Dunn has been a regular at the pub for more than 20 years and the 76-year-old said he thought the restrictions were a good idea. He said: “A lot of things should have been done earlier as we’ve kind of got into a semi-normal way of drinking, but I think it’s the right way to go.”

Stewart King spoke about his shock at the announcements, saying: “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it and I think it will have a serious impact on the economy and the social aspect.”

Other landlords in the region have voiced their own frustration’s about the restrictions, with Karl Gardner, landlord of the Waterfall in Cradley Heath, saying the restrictions would cause problems for pubs like his.

He said: “We’re just trying to get back on our feet. We’re just a small pub and a lot of our regulars come in late to enjoy a few pints, so I’m possibly losing a lot of trade.”

Landlord of the White Hart in Shifnal, Adam Caton gets set for a new closing time

Bobby Basran, owner of the New Merridale pub in Wolverhampton, said he understood the government’s plan, but asked how it planned to support the hospitality sector in the long run.

He said: “There needs to be more help for the sector and more packages provided for us. Our income stream comes from people coming through the doors and we’re losing more of that as a result.”

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