'Slowly drowning' - Publican's concerns over Tier 2 restrictions

The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft.

The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft with its landlord David Burd, 56, pictured in the inset. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A pub on the coast will not reopen this week as its landlord questions the financial viability of running a wet-led venue under Tier 2 restrictions.

Before the current lockdown, the Stanford Arms, in Lowestoft, was open, serving a clientele that included a mix of people eating and a handful of drinkers.

Landlord David Burd, 56, said: "We had the rule of six and I survived by doing a bit of food, tapas nights and Asian street food, but I need the drinkers as well.

"Even with the rule of six we had to work with, I was taking only one fifth of normal week's takings, but enough to just about survive, like slowly drowning rather than drowning quickly," he said.

The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft.

The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft will not reopen, except for takeaway food and beer, under Tier 2 restrictions. - Credit: Nick Butcher

He said that normally the majority of his customers would be men who come to the pub to meet their friends, "have a chat and set the world to rights", but with the Tier 2 restrictions allowing only members of the same household to sit together, that is now impossible.

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"To try reopen would be financial suicide," he said.

"Not at the moment, there would be no point. I'm planning on operating as a takeaway for food and beer probably until March.

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"Luckily, the council issued the grant which covers the rent, but not the utility bills. In another month's time I'll have another £1,000 of utility bills to pay.

"Even a £3,000 or £4,000 would see us through until March," he said.

Mr Burd said that even before the pandemic, running a pub was "never easy". 

"It was always touch and go. People's drinking habits have changed, they drink at home with satellite TV and Sky TV," he said.

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