Cafe owner raises concerns over Government's new gathering measures

A Waldall cafe owner fears the Government's new rules on social gatherings may harm customer confidence in dining out.

Laura Tarburton and Bev Jones
Laura Tarburton and Bev Jones

Laura Tarburton, owner of Bean and Baked micro-bakery, in Brownhills, said the measures announced on Tuesday night won't necessarily impact her business.

But she believes it could generally hurt the restaurant and cafe trade.

The new measures, which come into force on Monday, limit the number of people who can socialise together down to six.

It comes amid a new surge in coronavirus cases across the country which is concerning health chiefs.

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However as a micro-business, Bean and Baked only cater for a maximum of six people together, due to the site's small facilities.

Ms Tarburton said: "We reopened in June and the increase in trade has been slow but people are getting a lot more confident.

"The biggest concern is if the Government is bringing in new rules for six people, will other rules be brought in?

"It's the confidence of people. You can knock people's confidence. Bringing a [another] full lockdown is our biggest concern."

She added: "We haven't been taking bookings of more than six people from day one because of space."

The firm was eager to reopen following the lockdown in March. It operated from a horse box after reopening earlier this year before going back into its premises, at Brownhills Community Centre, in August.

Mad O' Rouke's, Tipton.

At Mad O'Rourke's Pie Factory, in Tipton, staff there say they will not be hampered by the Government's new measures either because they only seat a maximum of six people at a table.

For larger groups, for example 10 people, staff will place six people at one table and four at another, spaced at one metre apart.

However, Peter Towler, who runs the restaurant, said he was waiting to see what Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his speech last night to see if any changes would need to be made.

Asked for his thoughts on the new measures, Mr Towler said: "What's happening out there with the rise in Covid, we have all got to be careful."

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