What Plan B means for Peterborough’s pubs, clubs and restaurants
The uncertainty created by the government’s handling of the covid pandemic on the back of last night’s Plan B announcement, will hit Peterborough’s hospitality industry hard.
The impact of the Omicron variant prompted restaurateur Damian Wawrzyniak at House Of Feasts, Eye Green, to speak out last week after he was inundated by cancellations from worried diners.
Today, following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the wearing of masks and need for covid passports would increase, Darren Peachey, whose Venture Pub Company leases a number of Peterborougb pubs,said it was going to be a struggle despite pubs not being directly affected.
And club boss Steve Jason, who owns The Met Lounge in Bridge Street, has written to Peterborough MP Paul Bristow seeking clarification on how his venue will be affected,
“It is extremely draining for the hospitality industry to have to navigate these restrictions again. Our industry has been hit hard over the past year or two and it is about to get worse,” said Darren, whose city portfolio includes The Three Horseshoes and The Dragon in Werrington, Cross Keys, Dragonfly and Lime Tree.
“My belief is that, at the moment, we do not have to ask for covid passports or that customers have to wear masks in the pub. This will inevitably change after Christmas and that is where we will see the toughest times for the hospitality industry.
“We are struggling with staffing, increased costs (particularly utility prices) and reduced revenues. This is unsustainable. If the government and the breweries do not act to support our industry in the short term then you will definitely see a huge amount of operators leaving the business in the beginning of 2022.
“Can you blame them? In a word, no. It is becoming less and less viable to run a pub. Most operators would agree that a £30k a year job elsewhere without the stress would be a better option.
“Government and breweries beware, bury your heads in the sand and you will see a mass exodus of operators from your pubs. That I am sure of.”
Steve, who says the Met Lounge is primarily a music venue, is unhappy with the vagueries of the announcement and the blurred lines brought about by licensing deregulation.
“They seem to be saying that pubs aren’t affected but nightclubs will have to insist on covid passports,” said Steve.
“But what is a nightclub? What is the difference between one of the city centre pubs with a disco playing staying open until 1am or 2am, and a club over the road staying open until 2am or 3am? It is not fair.
“I can put a live gig on from 8pm to 11pm unrestricted, but to run a club night from 11pm into the early hours visitors might have to wear masks and have covid pass. It is ridiculous.”
Prem Devkota, at the Gurkha Durbaar restaurant in Broadway, said it was a worrying time.
“We are in the most important month for business,” he said, “I am worried it will have huge impact on our business, We are big venue and since the pandemic we have got all the social distancing measures in our restaurant to reassure diners, I hope things will improve if not there is another dark winter ahead.”