COVID-19 uncertainty hangs over Maidenhead pubs

Pubs in Maidenhead say hospitality businesses are still facing considerable uncertainty as the Government weighs up whether to introduce further coronavirus restrictions.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week there will be no further measures before the New Year but warned the Government will not hesitate to act if it needs to.

Despite the go-ahead for New Year’s Eve events, parties have been called off at venues including The Belgian Arms, Holyport, and The Pinkneys Arms, Pinkneys Green – with cancellations, self-isolating staff and safety concerns among the reasons cited.

George Herridge, bar manager at the Belgian Arms, said the business has faced challenges planning how much stock it needs due to the uncertainty over whether tougher restrictions on socialising are introduced.

He said: “One thing this has affected is our stock. We don’t want to end up having major restrictions put in place and finding out we are going into lockdown.

“The issue with that is if we over-order we have so much wastage and loss of money in food and drinks.

“We’ve been running low and trying to top up what we can as we go.

“It’s just stressful because we want to know what’s going to happen and when so we can prepare for it.”

The venue decided to cancel its New Year’s Eve party for 100 people due to concerns over the potential spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

George added: “Management talked about it and we didn’t want to risk someone coming in with it and spreading it among customers.

“Mainly we’re just trying to keep people safe and stop it spreading.”

The Pinkneys Arms also announced on social media it will be closing at 6pm on New Year’s Eve due to cancelled bookings and staff self-isolating making its planned celebrations ‘unviable’.

A statement said: “With many guests having to cancel bookings along with many of our staff off work isolating, it is simply not viable for us to deliver the experience we would like to.

“Roll on 2022, we hope to welcome you back in January.”

Speaking this week, Care Minister Gillian Keegan urged revellers who are planning New Year’s events to ‘be

cautious’ and take precautions such as taking a lateral flow test before heading out and socialising in well-

ventilated areas.

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