A Walkden hotel is supporting a national Pubs Matter campaign attempting to gain government financial support during Covid restrictions. 

Tim Coulston, the managing director of marketing and management company Nibble supporting the Stocks Hotel.

He believes that pubs need greater financial support to help them through the festive period which would usually be a busy time for the industry but Covid-19 restrictions have stalled the hospitality trade.

He said: “Operating for ourselves we can see that the support that is currently available isn’t enough. To close the hospitality business it’s going to need a lot of support.

“The support currently is £500 a week and that wouldn’t even cover utility bills, let alone rent and other costs.”

He continued to explain the limitations of the furlough scheme if businesses can’t stay afloat.

He said: “Furlough schemes are absolutely great but the businesses have to be around to be able to provide the furlough to the staff.

“The funding then knocks onto the staff team, if the businesses aren’t there then we can’t provide the furlough, everyone loses jobs and goes into universal credit situations which nobody wants to see.”

Mr Coulston went on to describe the challenges the Stocks Hotel has faced since Covid first forced pubs to close in the first lockdown in March.

He said: “The first lockdown was quite an interesting one, it was all new to us and there was support provided.

“We’ve almost been going week by week, month by month waiting for new announcements, we obviously got open again in July which was great.

“There’s obviously been a lot of introduction to PPE, new safety procedures, risk assessments and so the pub was affected by those, we’ve had to replan everything to reopen safely, socially distanced.”

He continued to say: “Each month from there on out for the rest of the year, something has changed. Whether it’s eat out to help out, you’ve got to plan that because that costs more in staff and then moving to a 10 pm curfew and guess what, you have to plan again.

“So it’s an awful lot of planning, replanning, training, retraining.”

During the Pubs Matter campaign, Coulston believes it’s important for pubs to work together and stand united in lobbying for government support.

He said: “The more voices the better, the government needs to be listening to this, we don’t seem to be seeing that. In terms of hospitality [which is] such a large jobs provider and essential services for socialising, they seem to be being ignored.

“So yes I think it’s much better to have a unified voice, the UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association, and all the individual landlords together raising awareness so that the public get on board.

“That leads you on to all kinds of things, signing petitions to get to the hospitality minister and I think it definitely amplifies the voice.”

According to Mr Coulston, another problem for the hospitality sector and the Stocks Hotel specifically is that people have been put off going to the pub because of the strict rules and curfews.

He said: “I think consumer behavior will undoubtedly change due to the affects of a global pandemic, people are such more cautious and they are paying attention to guidelines.”

However, he thinks that the hospitality industry is a safer environment for customers than the retail industry due to all the safety measures that have been put in place.

He said: “I do think that people feel a lot safer in hospitality venues due to the amount of money spent on the measures, PPE is available for customers, hand sanitiser stations are available and cleaning procedures have been increased an awful lot more than they were last year.

“I feel like yes we have taken a knock in consumer confidence but I think hospitality should be something people are reasonably comfortable about.”

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