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We’ve been left in the dark by Boris, claims publican




An Eye pub owner is excited at the prospect of being able to reopen next month, but feels the industry has been left in the dark due to a lack of direction from the Government.

Leigh Gardiner was forced to close the Queen’s Head, in Cross Street, when the UK-wide lockdown was announced in March.

“Everyone was gutted,” he said. “It was a massive hit. We had just got through January and February – the toughest months in the trade – and were ready for it to all pick up again, but it never did.”

Leigh Gardiner, owner of the Queen's Head Pub in Eye.Picture: Mark Bullimore.
Leigh Gardiner, owner of the Queen's Head Pub in Eye.Picture: Mark Bullimore.

Far from sulking, however, the 45-year-old has spent the last three months carrying out a raft of changes to the business – spending around £18,000 in the process.

This has included buying a wood-burning pizza oven from Italy, constructing a temporary outdoor bar and kitchen area, setting up an online table ordering system and transforming the venue’s beer garden.

Mr Gardiner said: “We have done all of this already, but we have no real idea on what the new guidelines are going to be.

Queen's Head Pub in Cross Street, Eye.Picture: Mark Bullimore.
Queen's Head Pub in Cross Street, Eye.Picture: Mark Bullimore.

“I feel we have had no real direction, as an industry, from Boris Johnson – we are just guessing at the moment.

“This should have been sorted out before now. July is just around the corner and we are all still in the dark.”

Mr Gardiner would like to see social distancing rules relaxed, from two metres to one metre.

“We have worked out that we could have about 30 people in the pub with the current rules,” he said.

“Reducing it could be the difference between us – and many others in the trade – being able to carry on or facing bankruptcy.

“It will be great to see people back at the pub and we are all really excited, but, as this way of life may be the norm for some time to come, it would be good to know what the Government’s plans are for us.”


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