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Pub landlords hit out at timing of closures amid staff pay uncertainty

By James Vukmirovic | Stourbridge | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

Landlords have hit out at the timing of the Government's move to order pubs to close amid uncertainty over staff pay.

The final pints being served at The Cross pub, in Oldswinford, Stourbridge, last night

Pub staff and pub goers alike have been digesting the announcement by the Prime Minister of the immediate closure of all pubs.

Boris Johnson made the announcement during his daily Coronavirus briefing to the media that all cafes, pubs and restaurants should close from Friday night.

It followed a request for people to stay away from pubs, clubs and other social places at the beginning of the week to attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

The announcement about closures follows similar measures taken in other countries, including Ireland, where pubs were told to close from last Sunday.

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Pub goers in Oldswinford were enjoying one last night out at their local before the pubs close for the foreseeable future.

The Bird in Hand was busy, with locals enjoying a pint and a laugh with the bar staff.

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A member of the staff, who didn't want to be named, spoke about what it meant to them and what the future of the pub might be.

They said: "Well, we kind of saw it coming, but it's still a bit of a shock to actually hear it from the Prime Minister.

"We're not sure what it's going to do to our locals into the pub in the future, because we're still processing the news, but we'll see how it goes.

"The pub will always be here, and people will always want to go to a pub, so we need to stay positive for the future."

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The landlord of the pub was on a conference call with the brewery Bathams, one of many breweries which could be affected by the closure of pubs.

This was evident with the landlord of the Cross at Oldswinford, a pub owned by Marston's, who was due to go on a conference call with the brewery.

Dave Owen said he was uncertain of what the future would hold for the pub and was still getting his head around the announcement by Boris Johnson.

He said: "I think it's a half cocked decision because he's told us that we should shut, but has he put it into legislation that we should shut?

"We seem to have no direct instruction and it's been very woolly and and not direct.

"Yes, there is this pandemic that's going on, but when we're struggling, we want the money.

Dave said he'd had bar staff coming to him and asking him when they'd be getting paid.

He also criticised the decision to announce the instructions to close at 5pm on a Friday

"We can't get hold of our accountants and we can't get advice from the breweries because they've all gone home.

"Looking forward, are people going to want to come back to the pub after six months?

"We're meant to be this pillar of the community and now that's been taken away, people might just permanently stay away, so it's a really worrying time."

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at james.vukmirovic@expressandstar.co.uk.

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