Hospitality businesses say they need a date out of lockdown

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Businesses who rely on tourism are pleading with the government to only give them a reopening date that can rely on.

Carmen Futcher, owner of Scotty's Kitchen and Scottys Lounge & Bistro in Weston-super-Mare, told ITV West Country she does not want short-lived freedoms like they had before Christmas.

Carmen said: "I will not reopen until I know we are staying open because financially I am not prepared."

Carmen Futcher says she cannot afford any more false starts from the Government. Credit: ITV West Country

She said opening the cafe would cost her up to £4,000 and to restock and the Bistro, which only opened for four days before Christmas, would cost £7,000.

As well as a financial pressure, the situation has taken an emotional toll on Carmen. Throughout the pandemic she has been providing food for her regular customers, and has found work for the homeless repainting her cafe.

She says: "I have put my heart into this, I can't give any more because I've got nothing to give."

The Seaquarium has sat empty on the seafront for nearly two years Credit: ITV West Country

On the seafront, the SeaQuarium has been re-let after two years dormant. The new owners, AGM Holdings, are transforming the venue into an indoor golf course with a cafe and bar.

Despite the tough climate for entertainment and hospitality, operations manager Alex Michaels says this could be the right timing for the town.

He said: "International travel not being that readily available this year and probably won't look like it will be this summer. We highlighted it as an opportunity to bring something new to Weston."

It is hoped 50 jobs will be created as a result of the SeaQuarium refurbishment Credit: Cllr Mike Solomon

The firm is part of Regency Purchasing Group, which has been lobbying the government on behalf of hundreds of businesses struggling in the lockdown.

Alex goes on to say some reassurance from the government would go a long way.

"That reassurance of a date further down the line gives you 'Well I know where I am today, this is where I need to be tomorrow and the week after' to make sure those businesses are still there when they are allowed to trade again."

Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference next week's "road map" would set out "as much as we possibly can about the route to normality, even though somethings are very uncertain".

The Prime Minister said: "We want this lockdown to be the last. And we want progress to be cautious but also irreversible."

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