Hospitality venues looking to future after Plan B lifted

Pub and restaurant bosses across the region are looking for a brighter future as Plan B restrictions are set to be lifted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Plan B measures in England would end from Thursday, January 27, meaning an end to mandatory Covid passes, face mask wearing and work from home guidance.

For pubs and restaurants across the region, the news means they can plan for the future after a difficult festive season which saw cancellations and lower attendance numbers than in previous years.

Satnam Purewal, owner of the Red Lion pub in West Bromwich said the impact of Plan B had been through cancellations and a reduction in lunchtime trade.

He said: "What affected us was the working from home, as we lost a lot of the lunchtime trade as people were not coming into the pub to have meetings with some food, so that had a massive impact on us.

"We lost Christmas parties as well, but we have continued to work hard to keep the place safe and I think people will start to come out more as we start to come out of this, so it's going to easier for us going forward than it has been."

Georgia Hadley, manager at the Cock 'n' Bull restaurant in Stourbridge, said Plan B had seen a dip in numbers as people cancelled meals, but said it had picked up as case rates dropped.

She said: "I do think things are looking a lot more optimistic than they were at Christmas when, at such a peak time, we were suffering cancellations, but I think people are making the most of the time they have got now.

"I know we've tried to max out where we can, while also keeping people safe, and I think when you see on the news that numbers are dropping, it's all making it look a lot better going forward."

For Terry Cope, landlord of Bird in Hand in Stafford, the new year period had been hit by Plan B, but said the future was looking brighter.

He said: "We are in a far better state than we were a year ago as at least we could open over Christmas, although the new year period is probably the quietest I've ever seen the pub at that time.

"We are in a new normal and will keep the sanitiser stations and clean the tables after people leave, but we are in a good state and, as Boris says, we've got to learn to live with it."

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