Posted: 25.02.21 at 15:32 by Amanda Chalmers
The owner of Hatton Estates, which incorporates The Hatton Arms pub and Hatton Country World and Shopping Village in Warwick, claims the hospitality sector has been 'thrown to the wolves' after the Prime Minister announced his 'roadmap' plans out of lockdown.
Johnnie Arkwright has joined other businesses in criticising the plans which revealed on Monday that pubs and restaurants are not likely to be allowed to open indoors until mid-May, with limits on groups and social distancing still in place.
Mr Arkwright said: "The PM has clearly adopted the ultra - cautious approach of the medical profession to unlocking lockdown at the expense of the hospitality/travel sectors and all those jobs of mainly young people who work in it (those who will also be paying off the debts for most of their lives).
"None of us want another false dawn like we had last year and of course we need to be careful about opening the inside of shops , pubs and restaurants - or holding big indoor events -but another three months?
"And the great outdoors - all that fresh air and space to socially distance whether in a farm park like Hatton Adventure World, a big pub garden like Hatton Arms , or a camping field and drive-in cinema like we also have at Hatton?
"All those opportunities to blow away the new mental health issues that society has now been cursed with.
"It can’t be sensible to allow amateur contact team sports to open in March, then bracket the great outdoors with internal venues like shops and gyms - and not open them for another seven weeks from now.
"When we were allowed to open last Summer everyone booked online, customer numbers were restricted, all the usual Covid precautions were put in place and over 50,000 people came to us.
"Not a single case of Covid was reported by a customer.
"And if there had been a case, we would have been able to alert everyone who was there because of the Track and Trace arrangements we had put in hand.
"In short - the chances of catching Covid at outdoor events with proper precautions being put in place like ours and non-team amateur sports like golf, racing, athletics and so on is minimal.
"Why, incidentally, it has been okay for professionals to play contact sports in teams and amateurs can‘t even race, run or play non-contact sports is very odd, to say the least.
"And let’s not forget - all the vulnerable folk have now been vaccinated in what has been a brilliant world-leading initiative.
"I understand why packed boozers and nightclubs shouldn’t open for some time but restaurants and food led pubs with table service, closed for another three months - really?
"Businesses like ours in the hospitality sector have been closed for eight out of the last 12 months and simply can’t now afford to miss Easter plus another two months for our pub - they are on their knees, an awful lot of them are going to disappear along with hundreds and thousands of more jobs - mainly under 25s – a large chunk of the devastation because of this ill-thought-through blanket approach. Thrown to the wolves, that’s how we feel right now.”
The popular country pub was forced to close its doors in March just one month after a refurbishment.
The Victorian farm buildings which make up Hatton Shopping Village, house 20 independent shops including a garden centre and farm shop created by TV presenter Lottie Newitt, two jewellers, antiques and furniture barns, gifts and home accessories, electric bike shop, gin distillery and cafe – as well as a Hole in the Wall that serves pints and traditional ales and hot food.
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