Cheshire news Cheshire pub couple's plea to Boris ahead of potential lockdown lift PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - The Helter Skelter in Frodsham, run by Nick and Karen Broome, joins fight to save British pubs
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A Frodsham publican has spoken out about the hardships multiple lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic have caused his industry. Nick Broome has run the Helter Skelter in Frodsham with his wife Karen for 15 years. The award-winning pub attracts a loyal customer base and offers cask ales and fresh food.. But like many pubs across the country, the Helter Skelter was forced to shut not once but three times as the country went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the UK braces for an announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (February 22), Nick hopes pubs won't be forced to shut again. Nick, 43, said: "A lot of people have lost their sanctuary. My hope is that whatever happens we don't go into another lockdown, we can't afford another one in our industry. "They should keep this lockdown until they are 100 per cent sure we are not going to shut down again." Inside the Helter Skelter pub in Frodsham (Image: Nick Broome) The #UnlockInn campaign, which is led by the Countryside Alliance and which Nick is a part of, follows revelations in a recent survey of pub landlords that found a staggering six in 10 believing they will go out of business if lockdown restrictions are not sufficiently lifted until the summer. If pubs are forced to remain closed into the summer months, the campaign urges the government to provide struggling businesses with increased financial support to ensure their future survival. For Nick, he believes the business could survive for a little while longer but is worried for his other fellow publicans. Read More Related Articles M6 crash drivers still in hospital with serious injuries Read More Related Articles Phrase that might stop you falling for suspected second dose vaccine jab scam "I think we would survive being locked down until September, at a push, but I know others wouldn't and things could change," he said. "I bought the business to give people enjoyment, a place of sanctuary so it's sad seeing it empty. "The individuals that come and sit at your bar, they are the one's that rely on you for a bit of a social interaction, perhaps they live on their own - they have lost that. "I understand there needs to be sacrifices across the country but there has been a lot of silly decisions on why pubs are the most targeted and lacking support. "Shutting us down on the basis of people can get a bit lairy after 9pm at night - compared to some of the scenes you see in supermarkets - is a bit strange." Nick Broome and wife Karen (Image: Nick Broome) The #UnlockInn survey also found that 92% of landlords want to scrap the rule that customers must order a substantial meal to be allowed to buy a drink when pubs reopen. Respondents indicated that this requirement had an overall adverse effect on customer footfall. Despite many pubs trying out different menu items, it was felt that their efforts had been in vain. The impact was underlined with 57% reporting that regulars stopped coming to their pubs when the rule was in place and 82% saw a reduction in overall footfall. Nick agreed the substantial meal scheme didn't work but says he wouldn't rule it out if it meant the difference of being open or closed. He said: "Reopening with the substantial meals was hard work last year, we couldn't go back to that, it's not a viable thing. "We didn't serve a scotch egg, we served a ploughman's for £5. "It was good for business in one sense because everyone who was coming in was eating but that's not the way to run, you are a public house, you're there for people to come in, relax, enjoy a drink and have a natter. "But if it meant opening up again with that rule, then absolutely, anything is better than being shut." Inside the Helter Skelter pub in Frodsham (Image: Nick Broome) In March 2020, before the Helter Skelter closed its doors, 18 members of staff worked there, now there are nine. Nick explained the tough decision he had to make as he fought for the businesses's future. He said: "We weren't expecting lockdown to go on until July, initially all the staff were kept on the furlough scheme. "I did later let go some part time staff, one's who were going off to university. "It's not an easy decision to make because you were a team before all of this and it is not easy to lose people who have been with you for a good while." Nick and Karen have received support from the government and Cheshire West and Chester Council during the pandemic.
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. Nick said: "The money is of course better than nothing but it doesn't cover what we have lost. "Luckily, our private landlord has been extremely good and the rent we paid when we were open from July to December was only a token gesture, so not full rent. "Without the government loan and grant, we wouldn't have survived."
Inside the Helter Skelter pub in Frodsham
(Image: Nick Broome)
Pubs have undergone a variety of changes in line with Government social-distancing guidelines and Nick and the team have been through them all. Nick and Karen spent around £1,500 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on installing features designed to comply with and aid COVID-19 safety guidance: including hand sanitising stations and PPE for staff. But the couple admit it wasn't an easy process. "It was the biggest challenge, sourcing PPE, we are quite a small bar so we wanted to make sure everywhere was really safe and secure," added Nick. "In the end I had to get see-through material, the kind you make dresses out of, from an upholstery company in Manchester, and we built our own frames."
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The ‘#UnlockInn - Save the Great British Pub campaign’ which has rolled out on social media already, enables the public to lobby their local MP with a letter asking the government to allow pubs to start trading again. As the vaccination rollout continues at rapid pace, the campaign has five asks, which it hopes the Prime Minister Boris Johnson will consider when outlining the roadmap for leaving lockdown. LockInn Campaign Demands 1. Allow pubs to serve alcohol with takeaways as soon as possible. This is currently not allowed and considered unfair. 2. Scrap the ‘substantial meal’ requirement when pubs open again. 3. If pubs are forced to remain closed into the summer months, please provide these struggling businesses with increased financial support. We cannot see them fall by the wayside. 4. Offer a practical road map for pubs and the hospitality industry at large to help them realistically prepare for when they can resume trading again. 5. Extend VAT at 5%, while ensuring rates are cut by 50 percent for the same length of time. This will help pubs get through the much-needed economic recovery. A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance added: “Among the societal benefits, the pub trade is a very important employer in many fragile, local economies. These five asks are essential if we are to see these fine institutions standing for future generations to enjoy.” Today's newsletter headlines: Cheshire covid death tolls in each neighbourhood since the pandemic began Photo smuggled from Crewe vaccine box plant used to spread anti-vax propaganda Handforth Parish Council's latest Zoom a rowdy affair as hundreds join to watch Thief who cost Cheshire workmen £50k jailed
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