Businesses across the West Country react to coronavirus Tier changes

Businesses in the region say they will be hard hit by the Tier system changes that come into force on Boxing Day. Credit: ITV West Country

Hospitality and entertainment businesses in Bristol and North Somerset are preparing to close - less than a week after they reopened.

It comes after the Government announced large parts of the region will move into Tier 3 on Boxing Day. The Director of Public Health in Bristol has admitted there has been a considerable rise in the infection rate.

Meanwhile, businesses and residents across Cornwall are coming to terms with the county moving into Tier 2 on 26 December. For many pubs and restaurants it is a real challenge to stay open whilst still remaining financially viable.

The Chef at the Swan and Dove says that the latest changes are a 'kick in the teeth'. Credit: ITV West Country

At the Star and Dove in Totterdown in Bristol they had bookings for the days ahead but they are plating up just for today (24 December).

Tier 3 means tonight, this business - which is just a year old - is shutting for the third time.

Chef, Jim Foster-Grundy said: "This last week has been a really big push to get the venue up and running. To produce a menu from scratch in time for the opening on Saturday (18 December) since the announcement of Thursday (16 December) is a lot of work.

"It's pretty unheard of in this industry to do that inside two days.

"So to hear yesterday (23 December) that now we're not going to be open for the next couple of weeks, or for the foreseeable, it's been a bit of a kick in the teeth."

The Swan and Dove in Bristol and is closing for the foreseeable future as the city will be in Tier 3 from Boxing Day. Credit: ITV West Country

The Star and Dove, in Totterdown in Bristol was in Tier 3, then was able to open when the city moved down to Tier 2. The move back follows an increase in infections in the city.

Christina Gray, Director of Public Health for Bristol said: "The lockdown is the intervention which really suppresses the rates. As we went into either Tier 3 or Tier 2, both of those opened valves so you get more activity and therefore, inevitably, you get a rise in the rate of infection.

"We were expecting to go up a little bit. It's slightly concerning how quickly it's gone up."

North Somerset has also moved up into Tier 3 - staff at Clevedon's Curzon cinema were trying to make things festive as it opened for the the last time in who knows how long.

The Chief Executive of the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon says it is hard to stay positive at the moment. Credit: ITV West Country

Susannah Shaw, Chief Executive at the Curzon Cinema said: "Each time you close a place like this, it's very hard to keep that real positivity going amongst staff. With volunteers, every time we open the volunteers pool comes a little bit less so it becomes a little bit harder for us when we do open."

In Cornwall, from Boxing Day, people will not be able to visit pubs that don't serve food like the Seven Stars in Falmouth. 

The Seven Stars in Falmouth has survived two World Wars and the Spanish Flu and the landlady hopes it will survive coronavirus too. Credit: ITV West Country

Amy Bennetts' family have run the pub for more than 170 years. She said: "I'm gutted actually. Heartbroken as well. It seems that we're playing a yoyo game in hospitality where we're getting the blame for most of it whereas we're doing everything to keep our locals safe". 

Amy's family have run this pub for more than 170 years.

It is hoped that the stricter Tier 2 rules will help control the spread of the virus in the Duchy. Dr Ruth Goldstein, Public Health Consultant, Cornwall Council says "cases quadruple and some, upward turn without a doubt. Moving to tier 2 where you are confined to socialising inside will reduce a lot of the spread.

"We've seen our numbers of cases on a daily basis quadruple and some over the last 10 days. It is a real upward turn. Moving to Tier 2 where you are really confined to socialising inside with just your household, that will reduce a lot of the spread."

The message is to enjoy Christmas but to stay safe and stop the spread of coronavirus. Credit: ITV West Country

Dr Goldstein's advice is:

  • Keep rooms ventilated, get air circulating

  • Give everybody a bottle of hand sanitiser on the Christmas table

  • Make sure you don't have a communal spoon that everybody shares

  • Try to keep the biggest distance from other people that you can do.

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