Portsmouth pubs blast 'devastating' tier three announcement cancelling crucial Christmas trade

PUB across Portsmouth were set for a relatively busy festive period – but now landlords have been left ‘flabbergasted’ as the city enters tier three restrictions a week before Christmas.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:48 pm

Earlier today, the government announced that tier three restrictions would apply to Portsmouth, meaning all pubs will be able to provide a takeaway service only.

Under the previous restrictions in tier two, the city’s pubs could offer both a takeaway and dine-in service.

The announcement will be ‘devastating’ for businesses as they prepared for the busy Christmas period, according to a spokesman for T W Assets, which owns and runs five pubs and restaurants in the city, including The Wellington in Old Portsmouth and The Kings in Albert Road.

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The Wellington Pub in Old Portsmouth, pictured earlier this year. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: 'We had all our Christmas bookings in, and we were doing well with bookings. We were set to be busy and buoyant.

'It's a lot of hard work to get people to book early and now we have to sit down and pay the deposits back.

'And it’s going to have a knock-on effect – our butchers will be stuck with a truckload of turkeys.

'It's such late notice for the Christmas period.’

The Greenwich Brew Pub in Osborne Road, Southsea has been just two weeks since the last national lockdown. Picture: Sarah Standing (081220-9931)

The venues face cancelling hundreds of bookings, according to the spokesman.

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He added: ‘People were going to come to us as a safe and secure environment, now it's going to be a free-for-all with people going round each other’s homes.’

Giles Babb, co-owner of The Greenwich brewpub in Southsea, agreed that there was huge frustration at the government’s ‘inconsistency’, which was turning the hospitality sector into a scapegoat.

The landlord said: ‘The biggest issue is the contradictory stance from the government.

‘They say we shouldn't be inside mixing, but it's Christmas so we can be.

‘I’m absolutely flabbergasted, to be honest.

‘We’re working to see what we can do with all the food we have in.’

Two weeks ago, The Greenwhich reopened with a new food offering after being closed since the start of the last national lockdown in November.

The option to keep the pub open with a takeaway service is still being considered, according to the landlord.

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