In another blow to our hospitality venues, one of the new restrictions added by the Government in the third ‘National lockdown’ is that public houses in England can no longer serve takeaway alcohol from their premises.
Whilst no initial mention was made of this by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his Monday night announcement (4th January 2021), it’s since been revealed that such venues are now restricted to selling alcohol by delivery only – meaning beer collection services being successfully run by pubs such as The Frame Breakers in Ruddington (above) during Tier 4 restrictions (and before) cannot continue.
Whilst recognising the soaring COVID-19 infection rate needs to be tackled urgently, boss Andy Heath of Nottingham Brewery is not happy: “This would appear to be a policy change rather than from any scientific stand point” he says. “It remains safe to purchase alcohol from a crowded, uncontrolled supermarket but not collecting from a COVID compliant pub with track and trace in place. There is no logic in allowing the collection of food but not alcohol other than it appears to be a punishment to the hospitality sector.”
Earlier today Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £4bn in new grants to support retail, hospitality and leisure firms – promising those forced to close would receive one-off grants worth up to £9,000 per site.
However, Andy continues: “Whilst the additional grant funding announced this morning is most welcome, especially with many business not qualifying, it doesn’t go far enough. Taking away with one hand (alcohol off sales) and giving back less with the other is no help at all. This grant is to potentially cover the next 4 months and doesn’t even partially cover the cost of furlough, never mind rent, utilities and other fixed costs. We will almost certainly introduce deliveries from the pub for food and alcohol, where possible and viable, and deliveries are available from the brewery web shop. We will also continue to support the community as best we can but, with each passing day, the breaking point is closer.”
Sarah Anderson of The Ruddington Arms (above) tells us: “Yes, another blow to the industry, though we were expecting it. We will continue doing our essential pop up 9-1 at The RA on Saturday mornings. The takeaways will be put on hold temporarily due to us not being comfortable bringing in the team, due to how the virus is so contagious, and to protect the NHS – which is the strong message Boris delivered last night. We have a web shop set up for people who would like to order any of our products.”
Andy Hunt of The White Horse says: “I understand why, as they’ve had issues with people congregating outside bars and pubs with collection, but I think again some have ruined it for the rest of us! Although Tier 4 to ‘lockdown’ doesn’t really change anything for us, and how we operate, it does take us further away from opening.”
Andy adds: “The Tier system has been an absolute waste of time! I am astounded how people didn’t see this coming. I think it should have been done sooner and with more thought. It feels like it’s all last minute. I thought we wouldn’t be open ’til March but, unfortunately, think that it will be a lot later now. We have been doing only takeaway food up until now but we will be offering a full range of wines and spirits for delivery.”
For most other village businesses the move back into ‘lockdown’ is little different from being in Tier 4. Hospitality venues such as Philo’s and Morton’s Delis have confirmed they will continue to open for food takeaways and non alcoholic beverages, with Sally at Phoenix Flowers working behind closed doors, and Ruby Rae and Debbie Bryan still taking online for orders for collection or delivery. Zing Interiors will continue to work on the curtains and blinds side of their business. Nikki at Ruddington Post Office has confirmed opening hours will remain the same – for both Post Office services and retail – with The Bottle Top next door serving our local community as before with essential items, eco products, refills, plastic-free fresh fruit and veg, wines, ciders, spirits and beer in bottles and cans – PLUS fresh Split Screen Coffee to take away.
As during the first ‘lockdown’ gyms, sports courts, fitness and dance studios and golf courses are no longer permitted to open, meaning that Ruddington Grange is closed to golfers once again. Other returning rules include just ONE opportunity to exercise each day and using public transport for essential journeys only.
As we reported yesterday, perhaps the biggest change and challenge for village parents and children this time around is the sudden decision to close all England’s schools again until mid-February. After St Peter’s C of E Junior School opened for just one day yesterday, both it and James Peacock Infant and Nursery School are shut again for at least six weeks and preparing to resume teaching most pupils online or using learning packs. Exceptions to this will be vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers, who will still be accommodated in class. You can read more >>HERE<<.
You can find full details of all the latest ‘stay at home’ lockdown rules which become legally enforceable from tomorrow (Wednesday 6th January 2021) until further notice >>HERE<<.
We’ll keep you posted on further Coronavirus news as we get it – including when the long awaited COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled out here to our most vulnerable villagers and local care homes.