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Happy and disappointed all at the same time

Happy and disappointed all at the same time

Leading city publican says government policy isn’t what we hoped for

Fiona Hornsby, one of Liverpool’s most forthright publicans has become an unofficial spokesperson for the city during lockdown.

Owner operator of the Small Hands consultancy with business and real life partner Dominic Hornsby, she’s spent her own time explaining to national and local media alike, what the barometer of opinion has been out there since the madness began back in March 2020.

In her latest piece for media, Fiona shares how the industry and her own businesses, The Denbigh Castle and The Bridewell are baring up.

“We are very excited to be re-opening, to see all our happy smiling regulars again, it’s just a shame that government policy isn’t what we had hoped for.

“We can open The Bridewell outside and utilise the additional outdoor seating granted to us by Liverpool Council. We will not be taking bookings as trade will obviously be restricted and will clearly be very weather dependent – walk-ins only for now, but more than anything, we feel it’s important for our team.

“We can’t wait to see them and we know they’re itching to get back to work for the routine and sense of purpose that work gives. Although we won’t be in a position to bring them all back initially, we hope it won’t be too much longer.

“Sadly The Denbigh Castle on Hackins Hey, we cannot re-open currently as we have no outside space but we can, in government wisdom open for takeout.

“The roadmap out for hospitality is strange. We can appreciate the level of risk outside is much less than inside. I can however see demand outweighing supply in many areas of the country and I worry for this.

“Groups of people will be able to congregate on street corners and public squares to drink takeout from pubs and supermarkets as we saw last summer prior to pubs reopening. Will this be a safe and controlled environment and especially for women?

“Would the government not be wiser to allow indoor opening albeit with restrictions to ensure social distancing, hand washing facilities and toilets available?”

“If we are allowing non essential retail to open then with measures in place there is no reason that I can see why we cannot open indoor hospitality.

“Further, the addition being allowed of putting up a marquee is questionable. In effect making outside inside and if the idea is that being outside reduces aerosol transmission, as soon as there is a roof and sides you may as well be inside a well ventilated pub. It makes as much sense as the scotch egg scenario. 

“Ultimately, less than 1/3 of pubs will be opening and most will run at a loss, the vaccination rate is incredible but what is the point if we will be making 80-year-olds sit outside in the cold when they have had two jabs?

“The industry has been ravaged along with many others over the last 12 months and we are here ready to welcome our customers back.

“Pubs are the lifeblood of the community and our fine city. They are the place to make friends, celebrate life events and share sad times too. I miss the customers laughing, chatting utter nonsense and witty banter. I miss the day trippers and telling them all about our great city , and the tourists – who may be some time away before they return.

“The last year has shown what social creatures we all are and how much family and friends mean to us all, personally there are so many people I can’t wait to see. I just hope the Government reconsider and allow us to open inside as well as outside on April 12th.”



Read more here (from a selection) about Fiona’s industry thoughts over the last 12 months…