PUB owners across the borough have are afraid for the future, as they prepare to survive the third closure forced upon them by coronavirus.

The latest lockdown announcement will see all pubs across the borough close – just over two weeks after all “wet” pubs had to shut their doors.

But after the news that the national lockdown could last longer than four weeks, many firms are concerned the latest closure could finish them off.

Yogi Mistry, owner of The Crofters in Bradshaw, has spent a lot of money putting strict measures in place to protect his customers.

All of his tables are positioned around the car park, with parking spaces left over to accommodate for all visitors, and there’s a strict two hour time limit for all bookings.

The money he’s put into the venue means the government support available will barely make a dent in his costs, leaving him with a lot to think about.

He said: “I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night thinking about my staff, I’m trying to keep as many people in jobs.

“If they lock us down in December I don’t think we’ll survive – I don’t know how anyone will.

“It’s really worrying times for everyone at the moment but this is the sensible thing to do.

“We need to try and get the rate down and then open for Christmas.”

It’s not just currently open venues that are worried, as the “wet” pubs – those that don’t serve food – fear that the current Tier system will be reintroduced in the borough when lockdown is over.

Rachel Birch, from The Beer School in Westhoughton, shut up shop last Thursday, and is worried she still won’t be able to open in December.

She said: “If we come out of lockdown on December 2 and then go back into Tier 3 me and my staff will be back on 67 per cent of our wage just in time for Christmas.

“It’s our biggest time of the year, we rely on it. January and February are the toughest times of the year for hospitality, we need that boost.

“We’re already looking at our finances to cut costs and see what we can spend less on. It’s going to be tough.”

Despite the fears, both owners believe that a full lockdown is the right decision.

The 80 per cent furlough scheme will allow firms to send their staff home with most of their wages – a huge relief for many bosses who were worried about their staff trying to survive indefinitely on two-thirds of their wages.

Ms Birch added:“It’s great to have that 80 per cent, but it’s a bit of a sock in the face after only being given 67 per cent last week.

“There’s a lot of mixed feelings, it was starting to feel like it wasn’t a level playing field so it feels much fairer now, but I don't really want to see places forced to close.

"We were expecting something like this, and I do support it, it's just going to be tough.

“I’m just glad I didn’t try and make it work under Tier 3 because it would’ve been worse.

"It must be so disheartening to those people – I know firms who invested in pizza ovens and took on extra staff and then five working days later we’ve got a national lockdown.”

Despite his hard work, he welcomes the new lockdown, as he hopes that it will allow them to go back to trading in time for Christmas.

He said: “I was personally looking for a lockdown, I believe we should close down for four weeks, and then let people open for Christmas.

“The unknown is the worst thing for any one. I’m trying to keep people in jobs but it’s going to be tough.

“This is our third one now – how can any one recover from a third lockdown? This isn’t just going to be a tough couple of months, there are many businesses that will never reopen.”

Has your business been affected by the latest announcement? We want to speak to you about the challenges you face. Call 01204 537007 or email kit.​