Mansfield pubs' cautious welcome over Boris Johnson's reopening roadmap

Mansfield pubs are cautiously welcoming news that the town’s pubs and hospitality businesses could soon re-open.

By Dale Spridgeon
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 1:36 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced his roadmap lifting lockdown restrictions with limits on social contact ending by June 21. Outdoor hospitality, including pubs, could reopen as early as April 12, with indoor hospitality opening no earlier than May 17. The stay at home order will end on March 29.

Tony Holmes, with his wife Hilary, runs the Foxglove, on Fulmar Road, Mansfield. He said: “I’m pleased there’s some sort of roadmap to reopening. What has been hard on our industry has been the opening amid restrictions, the stop-start.

"It’s sad we are missing Easter and Mother’s Day, they always give us a boost, but if a later opening means we have a longer, more normal summer, I’ll take that. It’s been tough. I feel for the independent pubs.

Anthony Hughes founder of Lincoln Green Brewing Company

“We don’t know when we shall open, but people are ready to come back. When we closed in November, none of us knew what was going to happen. The thing that gets us through is knowing we have a loyal customer base. I’ve missed our customers, many have become old friends over the years. Within 20 minutes of Boris’s announcement I had two messages saying ‘we can’t wait to come back!’”

Dan Moody, who runs the Garrison, Leeming Street, Mansfield, said: “It’s been a terrible time for pubs. I almost cut my losses and closed completely. It’s only thanks to amazing support from people that I’m able to even think about opening. I would have liked it to be sooner.

“The money we got from the government wasn’t enough. A community fundraiser around Christmas raised £4,000 which kept us afloat. We had donations from as far as Australia. It’d be great if the council would let us put chairs on the street, then we could open earlier as an outdoor venue or if we could temporarily close off Leeming Street, like for special events. We are still paying out for rent and all the costs, it hurt. It’ll be good see everyone back again.”

The Foxglove, Mansfield

Anthony Hughes, founder of Hucknall-based Lincoln Green Brewing Company Ltd and Lincoln Green Public House Company Ltd (The Station Hotel, Hucknall, The Robin Hood and Little John, Sir John Borlase Warren, Nottingham,The Brickyard, Carlton and Railway at Belper) said: “Our brewery business has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. When the pubs closed it affected the brewery, and we also run our own five pubs so we had the impact of that too.

“I’m pleased we’ve got clarity around the dates, it was long overdue. I wrote to the MPs about that. The April 12 reopening for outside space, means difficulties for some of sites, it is only good for pubs if the weather is good, or they have outside space. At the Station, there’s only a small area.

“The May 17 opening is later than we’d hoped and I’d challenge that decision. If the vaccine programme has been rolled out by then, I don’t see why we can’t pull the dates forward. We also need the chancellor to give us additional financial support.

The Garrison on Leeming Street, Mansfield

“There’s no evidence that hospitality was responsible for the spread of the virus, we were locked down on November 4, the biggest peak came in December.”