Portsmouth pubs suffer 'a bitter pill to swallow' as anger builds over government's extension of Covid-19 restrictions

CANCELLED parties, music performances, and bumper beer orders across Portsmouth pubs are among the fallout from the prime minister’s announcement delaying the end of Covid-19 restrictions.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 10:05 pm
Chrissy Sloan, who took over the Milton Arms in September 2020 for Love your Local.

Pictured: Christine Sloan with her partner, Dan Smith at the Milton Arms, Portsmouth on 3 February 2021.

Picture: Habibur Rahman
Chrissy Sloan, who took over the Milton Arms in September 2020 for Love your Local. Pictured: Christine Sloan with her partner, Dan Smith at the Milton Arms, Portsmouth on 3 February 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Landlords were hoping for a return of bar service, patrons being allowed to drink without needing to be seated, and a pub atmosphere without social distancing on June 21.

But the plan to lift Covid-19 restrictions next Monday has been dashed as the prime minister announces restrictions will remain in place until July 19.

It is a ‘bitter pill to swallow’ for the pub industry across the city, according to Lawrence Hall, the manager of The Shepherd’s Crook in Fratton.

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The Shepherd's Crook in Goldsmith Avenue. Picture: Lawrence Hall

The 25-year-old said: ‘It’s quite a bitter pill to swallow when this industry has bent over backwards and been one of the worst treated. We all understand the need obviously – but we want to get on with what we’re good at.

‘It’s all so depressing.’

The landlord had previously told The News that he had planned for a bumper beer order to prepare for punters celebrating ‘Freedom Day’ and Euro 2020 – now it is ‘in no mans land’ according to Lawrence.

He added: ‘We always have a contingency plan.

‘But with less than a week to go, we’re left scraping around trying to sort it out.’

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And landlord Lawrence puts the blame down to ‘a complete failure’ of government.

He said: ‘We all understand there’s a lag between cases and deaths. But it just goes back to when the variant (that was first seen in India) was coming into the country, everyone knew planes from India shouldn’t have been coming in. The government can’t have a lackadaisical attitude and punish us all for it.

The landlady of The Milton Arms, Chrissy Sloan, also believes more could have been done to control the delta variant, first discovered in India.

She said: ‘I’m pretty naffed off with the government.

‘I cannot believe it.’

The announcement means the pub will have to cancel its plans for live music next week – as well as birthday parties and other events bookings made for July.

Chrissy said: ‘It won’t be having live music. The people I booked are on-call expecting to be cancelled.

‘I mean to have some live music outside – but it won’t be a band.’

‘In July, we have a birthday party booked for 100 people.

‘We don’t know what will happen with that now.’

Trade remains ‘quite good’ – but not as hoped for given the football

The landlady added: ‘I don’t think the England game was as busy as we thought it would be.

‘It’s not the same. It’s hard telling people when they have had a few drinks to sit down.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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