Pubs strive to create 'online Christmas' in wake of tier 4

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Tier 4 restrictions have topped off Slough’s already struggling hospitality sector and caused fresh anxiety to Windsor – which was in tier 2 only last week.

Mahesh Haridass owns Brindhavan restaurant in Park Street, Slough.

“I think there is no point to this – all the restaurants are closed but the high street is still very busy with people shopping for their groceries,” he said. “People want to save the shops, they want to save the employees.

“We are the perfect restaurant for staying open, we are a big space. It was working well – we were wearing masks, our customers were wearing masks.

“I’m not sure we can survive this into next year. We have had high spending this month. We asked the utility company for more time to pay our bill but they said no.”

The Swan in Clewer is a wet-led community pub that has had to close. Anne Tebbatt, chair of Friends of The Swan, said that Windsor’s brief plunge into tier 3 was actually more problematic than tier 4.

“We were trying to figure out a food option that was financially viable,” she said. “All of that work is now on hold.”

“We’re trying to put together some online ways to do Christmas this year. Lots of pubs are doing imaginative things to keep going. Although it may not be what you’re used to, it’s important to support them as much as possible.”

Sean Arnett runs the Blackwood Arms pub in Burnham Beeches. Because it is ‘in the middle of nowhere’ it cannot feasibly offer a takeout service so cannot make any business in tier 4.

“We have a big marquee and I just invested six or seven thousand pounds in a new one,” he said.

“This was a bolt out of the blue – it was terrifying, really. My staff are in bits,” said Sean. “They come to work because they love coming to work. They have been amazing though all this.”

Sean is not expecting to be able to return in the ‘tough month’ of January. The Blackwood Arms has had to get rid of hundreds of pounds’ worth of food and has given it to charity.

“It’s a cold comfort but it’s a nice thing to be able to do and every little helps,” he said.

Addressing the nation on Saturday, Boris Johnson said the country had no alternative.

He said: “When the science changes, we must change our response. When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defence. I sincerely believe there is no alternative open to me. Without action, the evidence suggests infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”

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