03:00PM, Monday 15 June 2020
A founding member of a community-owned pub in Maidenhead is hoping social distancing guidelines will be reduced to 1m when venues are given the green light to reopen.
Pubs and restaurants have faced almost three months of financially-crippling closures since the UK Government ordered all non-essential shops to close on March 23.
The shutdown has forced venues like The Craufurd Arms to adapt their business with the popular Gringer Hill watering hole launching a walkthrough takeaway service during lockdown.
But Mark Newcombe, chairman of the pub’s management committee, said a reduction of social distancing guidelines from 2m to 1m would be a big help to smaller venues who are looking to bounce back when pubs reopen.
He said: “As everyone knows it’s going to be a long-slow process coming out of the lockdown.
“Bringing it down to onemetre would obviously help smaller pubs like ours but it’s definitely going to affect pubs that don’t have gardens. “
The Craufurd Arms set up an SOS fund to support its workers on the Crowdfunder website with generous members of the public pledging more than £6,000.
It has also made use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, secured a Small Business Grant of £10,000 and £50,000 from the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme to try and survive during the unprecedented trading conditions.
The pub’s community-owned status has also enabled it to apply for support from the Power to Change COVID-19 Rescue Fund and the Plunkett Foundation, which supports community businesses.
Mark said planning for the threat of the pandemic had been ongoing before the Government enforced the lockdown, which paved the way for the pub to launch its takeaway service soon after.
This has meant pubgoers have been able to get their hands on the venue’s selection of real ales, provided by local breweries, with a socially-distant collection service laid on with beers served in sealed containers.
A home delivery service is also on offer with the pub continuing its community engagement by continuing its popular pub quiz events, albeit virtually.
Mark added: “We have got some funds in the bank and I am pretty sure that we can ride it out but it’s going to be a very tough time.
“The community continue to support us by coming to the takeaway service and buying their beer from us. Real ales can only really be collected from a pub and the public have been very appreciative that we have been able to keep it coming.”
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