The government’s decision to put Greater Manchester in Tier 3 has ‘decimated’ the Christmas of restaurant owner Robert Rossario.
Rossario who owns Mambos in Irlam has been greatly impacted by the tier system. He wrote on Facebook when the decision was made that the ‘uneven playing field’ has given him no choice but to close until further notice.
The restaurant owner has felt anything but festive this year, as he hasn’t been able to capitalise on any of the Christmas trade.
He said: “Our Christmas has been decimated, we usually have the decorations up by now, but the spirit has been destroyed this year. it’s been impossible to trade.”
Today Matt Hancock announced that Greater Manchester will remain in Tier 3. They have been joined by other areas of the country that were previously in Tier 2, like London, Berkshire and Hertfordshire. Even if the restaurant was able to re-open, Rossario still wouldn’t be in a good position.
He added: “There would be no time to generate the cash we need to give us our cushion to see us past the hard times during the spring. Even on New Year’s Eve we wouldn’t be able to have people in until midnight.”
Mambos have been unable to open while restaurants in other areas have been able to serve meals to those who want to dine in. This has frustrated the restaurateur.
Rossario said: “It does wind me up; the movement of the goal posts, constant changing of regulations, the whole thing has made me tired. A lot of people in the restaurant business have Covid fatigue.”
The fact that restaurants are open close by meant that Mambos stopped opening as a takeaway as the negatives outweighed the rewards.
He added: “Mambos Is on the fringe of Cheshire and restaurants were opening in Lymm, Stockton Heath and Warrington. Instead of people getting a takeaway with us, they were more likely to go there. We noticed a decline in our sales, so we decided not to do that anymore. I believe Manchester should’ve be in the same category as Cheshire or London, I don’t see why it wasn’t. I wish there’d been a level playing field so we wouldn’t have had to close.”
Despite this, Rossario believes Boris Johnson has still handled the situation well and that the speculation that Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s disdain for the tier system has had anything to do with the Prime minister’s decision is wrong.
He said: “He can’t be held responsible, it’s not his fault this virus came to our country. A lot of people said it was revenge for what Andy Burnham did, but a government wouldn’t act like that. I don’t agree with everything, but in my heart, I believe he’s performed quite well in helping businesses, I haven’t had to furlough until now. I just wish he could have let us open as we would have been ok. ”
Local restaurant goers have flooded the restaurant with support with some commenting on Facebook:
‘You’re going to get through this, but for now, I just want to thank you for your awesome food.’
Those who are missing Mambos, won’t have to wait forever to get their hands-on things like the pot roasted beef and the ribs, that Rossario was posting on social media throughout the first lockdown, as he is confident that the restaurant will be back in 2021.
Rossario said: “I’m happy that there’s a vaccine on the way and when people start taking it, I think confidence will be restored in restaurants. People want to create wealth and spend it, so in my soul I think we will be ok. Christmas may have been destroyed this year, but we will bounce back for the next one.”