The independent Portsmouth pub landlords still unable to welcome back drinkers

INDEPENDENT pub landlords across the city have said it’s not financially viable for them to reopen for outdoor business.

By Neil Fatkin
Saturday, 24th April 2021, 7:00 am

While at least 25 pubs across the city have welcomed back customers since lockdown was eased, for many pubs reopening was ‘not an option’.

This is due to a lack of outdoor space and staffing costs.

Joe Collis, who owns the One Eyed Dog and Porters in Albert Road, Southsea, said: ‘We just don’t have enough outdoor space to make it financially viable.

Owner of Shenanigans in Southsea, Iain Kirby, 52, is not planning on reopening until June. Picture : Habibur Rahman

‘We simply wouldn’t be able to accommodate enough customers to cover our costs.

‘We are planning on reopening on May 17 when hopefully people will be allowed inside venues.’

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It’s a sentiment shared by Sally Port Inn owner Mark Smith, 51, who added: ‘We are not going to be opening until May when customers can drink inside. As well as staffing you also have to consider the weather which can obviously affect outdoor service.’

Owner of The Sally Port Inn, Mark Smith, will not be reopening until May 17. Picture: Sarah Standing (190121-1323)

The Hole in the Wall landlord Jon McKerracher, 50, has continued to operate a take-away service throughout lockdown but was unable to reopen on April 12.

He said: ‘It was not an option to reopen as we don’t have an outdoor space. I have been selling between 500 and 600 take-away pints each week but this is a lot less than what we would normally do.

‘Once you take into account staffing costs and the weather, the only pubs to benefit from this are the ones with large areas of outdoor space which tend to be part of big commercial chains.’

The Hole In The Wall's landlord Jon McKerracher has no outdoor space to reopen.

Shenanigans owner Iain Kirby, 52, believes many pubs will not fully reopen until June 21 when the government hopes to remove all social restrictions.

Ian said: ‘I have only got two tables outside so reopening was not an option. I will probably not reopen until June and this will be a soft reopening with limited hours.

‘All the restrictions which will be in place from May 17 will have massive cost implications for additional staffing and it will not be financially viable. I have been speaking with my suppliers and they have said a lot of their pubs are also not planning on reopening until June.

‘Each time I have reopened it has cost me between £3,000 and £5,000 only to have shut again.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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