Newcastle landlord fears for pub's future after Covid lockdown

A pub landlord from Newcastle has told ITV News Tyne Tees he regrets spending £45,000 of Covid safety measures during the first two lockdowns, only to see the third lockdown prevent him from even selling takeaway alcohol.

An industry body has predicted nationally around 12,000 pubs could go bust and landlord of City Tavern, David King, said any lengthy closure this winter means the prospect of his pub being forced to close down is "a risk we have to consider".

Installing a screen over the bars area, dividers spacing out tables and chairs and building a new outdoor cinema and beer garden cost him thousands.

David King was also forced to lay off nine staff members.

All of that money really, in hindsight, would have been better spent on trying to keep some money back, to pay rent and pay our fixed costs and to pay our staff ahead of furlough, because of course this time, we do have to pay the national insurance contributions and the pensions which over the amount of staff we’ve got is a considerable amount of money. 

David King

He added: "Closure is definitely a risk we have to consider. After the second lockdown we operated a market stall at the front door of the pub. During the current lockdown we’re not allowed to do that. There’s no alcohol allowed for takeaway now, so we’re closed completely now."

Pubs forced to close once again Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The new lockdown rules mean Mr King cannot currently sell alcohol from the premises anymore, even as takeaway booze.

Northumbria Police have also warned that any pub landlords who consider diversifying into deliveries will need to have the correct documentation and cover or they could face fines.

If you are stopped by the police for no insurance you can be issued with a fixed penalty ticket, which is a £300 fine, six points on your licence. We can also seize your vehicle, so there would be recovery costs for that and also any storage costs if you weren’t able to recover your vehicle the following day.

Sgt Jane Munro, Northumbria Police
Pubs closed once again Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The British Beer and Pub Association is concerned about the impact of a third lockdown on the industry.

This is coming at a very difficult time, maybe our darkest hour, the biggest crisis for the industry and we are now expecting a quarter of pubs to be maybe not making it through to the summer. So we could be losing 12,000 pubs and over 290,000 jobs that we have.

Emma Mc Clarkin CEO, British Beer and Pub Association