Award winning South Staffordshire pub expecting tough times in tier two

A pub has been crowned the best in South Staffordshire for the seventh time in eight years - as staff members gear up for stricter coronavirus measures in tier two.

Dan Hicks in the Cat Inn's colourful beer garden
Dan Hicks in the Cat Inn's colourful beer garden

The Cat Pub, in Enville, near Stourbridge, has won Campaign for Real Ale's pub of the year award in South Staffordshire for 2020.

But it will be a bitter pill to swallow for the hardworking staff, including its manager Dan Hicks, as Staffordshire is set to get into tier two this weekend.

Mr Hicks, 45, who has worked at the pub for eight years, said: "It was great to win it again, it is always a pleasure and a great thing to have for the pub.

"Hard work goes into keeping the standards high. We are very grateful."

The previous years when the pub has won the award has been 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and now 2020.

"We have reclaimed the title, we are back on top in South Staffs again," he added.

Tier two restrictions prevents people from different households sitting on the same table. Pubs are also having to do table service which requires using more staff.

Asked how he is feeling about the pub facing tighter coronavirus restrictions, Mr Hicks said: "I think it is affecting trade now.

"I think everywhere is a lot quieter. Obviously closing at 10pm. Then there's families that can't mix. It is just difficult, very difficult.

"Table service is difficult as well because we have to employ more staff to do that. It has put real pressure on the trade."

The pub closed for three months amid the coronavirus pandemic where some staff had to go on the Government's furlough scheme.

Mr Hicks added: "It has been really tough in the pandemic. There has been a lot of pressure. We have got to ride the storm and hopefully we will come out better at the end."

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