Kendal reaction as pubs told to close at ten

PUB owners have reacted to the news that hospitality establishments will have to close at 10pm from Thursday September 24- with one owner saying it could be a death sentence for many.

The curfew, which is part of several new measures to try and tackle the rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases, was announced by Boris Johnson in parliament on September 22.

Pubs will also have to operate a strict table service only and punters will have to wear masks when not seated at their table.

Phil Walker, chairman of the Westmorland branch for Campaign for Real Ale and owner of The New Union pub in Kendal said he understood the need for a curfew, but thought powers should have been given to police earlier, in order to curb the virus’ spread.

“I think it should have been looked at better before,” he said.

“Back when we opened in July the police should have been given the powers they have today to stop the people who flouted the rules.

“ I fully understand where the Government has come from, we’ve seen brawls in town recently so this is why they have to do it.”

However, the publican expressed a number of concerns about the rules.

“I’m concerned about where people will go after ten o’clock and do the police have the resources to stop house parties?” he said.

“ And I think it will really impact businesses.

“Staffing is the main concern I have, because they’re losing hours.”

Speaking about how the implementation of safety measures had been in the pub Mr Walker said: “It’s been reasonably easy, there has been one or two who haven’t wanted to sign into track and trace.

“And they’ve been introduced to where the exit is, because if they don’t have the respect for me, or our customers and staff we have no time for them.”

Chris Duxbury, who is landlord of the Ring O’Bells and owner of the Castle Inn, Kendal, alongside his wife Su, said they were ‘not best pleased’.

“We’re very worried,” he said.

“We only have the Castle Inn open, we don’t know how we’ll get on with the Ring O’bells.”

The husband and wife duo were unable to open the Ring O’Bells in July due to concerns they would be unable to implement social distancing, due to the small size of the pub.

“I think it will be a death sentence for many pubs,” added Mr Duxbury.

The Westmorland Gazette | News