Liverpool business owners have slammed the city’s new Tier 2 status, which has seen many businesses reopen today, while others have been forced to remain closed.
Restaurants, non-essential stores, salons and more hospitality businesses were able to open up their doors again today after a month-long lockdown in England.
While many will be rejoicing at opening their doors ahead of the Christmas period, others have been left disappointed.
Despite lockdown ending, the country has now moved into a tougher tiered system, with Liverpool City Region placed into Tier 2 .
Under the new restrictions, many hospitality businesses have been permitted to reopen with strict rules in place, but others have been told they can’t reopen.
For now, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues must remain closed, and bars and pubs are unable to open unless they can operate as a restaurant - meaning they must provide a ‘substantial meal’ alongside alcohol.
We spoke to some of the businesses affected by the tiered measures, including Kate Stewart and Carol Ross, who own two of Liverpool’s most popular pubs.
Kate Stewart, who runs iconic matchday pub The Sandon, says it’s not “feasible” to open up, despite being a venue that can serve a ‘substantial meal’.
For Kate, the opening of stadiums and the return of fans is imperative, and she says until this happens Tier 2 is “disastrous”.
She said: “It’s positive that Liverpool has been placed into Tier 2 but The Sandon will remain closed. With the restrictions that the tiers bring, and without fans allowed back into stadiums, it’s not feasible for my business to reopen.
“I’m focusing on the news that spectators will hopefully be allowed soon and then I’ll be able to open our doors and get back to business but until then, it’s still disastrous.”
As a result of being under Tier 2 regulations, a maximum of 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend elite sporting events - but this does still mean a hugely reduced footfall for pubs and other businesses surrounding the stadium.
Carol Ross, the long-time landlady and new owner of The Roscoe Head, has also been left unable to open due to Tier 2 restrictions.
The Roscoe Head is so small that social distancing is extremely difficult, but Carol said the government should provide a “package of monetary help”, especially during the Christmas period.
She said: “It's not one size fits all, what they need to do is let licensees police their own pubs or venues regarding social distancing, my pub is too small to open up with the social distancing measures so I agree I should stay closed.
“But there needs to be a decent package of monetary help from the government to allow us to pay fixed costs during the busiest time of the year. Some pubs are bigger and can open.”
Carol said she thinks the Government is “scapegoating” wet led pubs, that is those that only serve drinks and not food, as the new rules say pubs must be able to provide a ‘substantial meal’ alongside any alcohol.
She added: “Tier 2 restrictions are the same as the old Tier 3 except more confusing. If wet pubs have to close then tell us to close and give us a decent package to stay closed. Don't tell pubs they cannot serve alcohol.
“I feel sad, the government seems to be scapegoating the wet led pubs they have spent money making their venues safe to open - mixed messages are not helpful.”
Carol said that even Tier 1 restrictions wouldn’t be helpful to her situation, as the problem of social distancing remains the same.
She added that it is “very frustrating” to have been forced to close, so soon after gaining ownership of The Roscoe Head.
She added: “I will still be the same size in Tier 1 so it is no, but again we need the right help from the Government.
“It is very frustrating for me but we will be back bigger and better. I look forward to welcoming everyone back old and new into my pub but when it is safe to do so, with some normality.
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“My pub is so small but it works but I need to open up before the lockdown rules otherwise we won't survive. We tried this in September, it did not work.
“This is why the Great British Pub is so famous. There are many more pubs in the same boat, small cosy and full of laughter which makes them part of the community.
“I welcome the vaccine and this gives us some hope of normality.”