Pub landlord in Wandsworth speaks out about impact of Tier 2 restriction on the industry

By Sian Bayley

A pub landlord in Tooting has said he wants to “just forget this year” after coronavirus restrictions have impacted his business.

James (Jimmy) Crowe is the landlord of the Ramble Inn, and says the 10 pm curfew has meant his takings are down 30 per cent.

He says last week’s Tier 2 restrictions, which mean people cannot meet different households inside a pub or restaurant, have caused a further decline.

“I reckon this week we could be down 40 per cent,” he said.

“You just notice that people, you know, some of the regulars, they won’t even come into a pub. You’ve got that and then you’ve got people not from the same household, so there’s less footfall anyhow.”

He believes the curfew is having a more negative impact on his business than the additional Tier 2 restrictions, and argues that supermarkets should have similar closing times.

“They leave here at ten o’clock and there are queues outside Sainsbury’s Local and Aldi for purchasing beers, and then they are going back to people’s houses where there’s no sort of safety, no track and trace, or sanitisers and things like that,” he said.

He says the Ramble Inn is doing “OK” and he reckons that he will be able to stay afloat as the business is well established and has a freehold so isn’t paying rent.

“The only impact is really I don’t think there’s dangers in the pub. In here especially, and in other pubs I’ve gone and checked out, everything is in place for safety. You know, distance, sanitisers, track and trace.”

Speaking about the impact coronavirus has had on the tight knit Tooting community he said: “Everyone’s negative about it. What we’ve decided now is this year, just forget this year. I have hope for next year.

“We do need to get a vaccine for it, it is still out there, people still need to be careful and use their common sense.”

Today chancellor Rishi Sunak announced changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) which will replace the furlough scheme in November.

Under the new changes employers will pay less and staff can work fewer hours before they qualify, to help struggling businesses that have not been made to shut.

It comes after many pubs and restaurants in Tier 2 areas complained they would be better off under Tier 3 restrictions, because although they would be forced to close, they would get more government support under the stricter measures.

The chancellor also announced that more grants will be available for businesses in Tier 2 areas and these would be distributed by councils.

Businesses in the accommodation, hospitality and leisure industry will be able to get up to £2,100 for every month Tier 2 restrictions apply – equivalent to 70 per cent of the value of grants for closed businesses in Tier 3.

The grants will be retrospective and can cover any business affected by enhanced restrictions since August.


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