Home Kent News Bar owner opens up about reality of ‘draining’ lockdown delay

Bar owner opens up about reality of ‘draining’ lockdown delay

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Original article from Kent Live

The postponing of the end of COVID-19 restrictions was met with disappointment, annoyance and a sense of deja vu by many business owners.

With the rise of the new Delta variant of COVID in Kent it became apparent that initial plans could not account for a rise in coronavirus infection rates.

For the hospitality industry it is yet another twist in a very difficult year that has threatened businesses with financial peril – like the Cin Cin Bar in Deal.

Read more: COVID infection rates climb right across Kent as lockdown easing date is delayed

Owner Tanya Tong says the last 12 months have been "frustrating" and "exhausting," with repeated uncertainty over reopening saw her business face huge losses.

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Tanya runs the bar with her husband Andy, and says they have struggled to manage – and that there is more at stake than just loss of potential profit.

She said: "It's been really difficult for us – obviously we've had massive overheads to pay in terms of rent, and we've lost stock twice over now due to the date expiring on things or having to waste the kegs that we've put on."

"We were lucky as a country to get the grants that we've got, but the uncertainty still made it really really tight for us – and each time you reopen it's almost like you're having to start again."

A snap lockdown in November 2020 and the U-turn on Christmas also left many disappointed – though subsequent case rates showed the effect of these decisions.

Many bars, restaurants and pubs were forced to adapt – losing staff and shifting focus to keep some money coming in – and Tanya is aware of how lucky Cin Cin has been that this strategy has worked.

Cin Cin, like many other venues and restaurants, has been forced to adapt to the pandemic's restrictions.

"We've had to diversify quite a bit and sort of getting ready on the food side of things because of it being seated.

"We used to primarily be a live music venue and kind of dance events and all those kinds of things that we're not allowed to do at the moment.

"We're quite lucky that it's been as successful as it has, because otherwise I don't think we would have got to this point."

Though still open, Cin Cin Bar has still struggled – with the reopenings and restrictions putting a huge toll on their staff.

"The hospitality trade across the country has lost around a third of its staff, so it puts pressure on our existing staff – it just means that everyone's pretty exhausted."

"We only have one chef in the kitchen at the moment – that's doing everything every hour that we're open – and my front of house staff have been fantastic, but the demand of turning things over as quick as possible to keep the customers happy is draining.

"It's really really hard work."

She added: "We're completely understanding of how horrific it's been for people that have lost people – as a trade, it has just been really hard for us."

'Support your local businesses'

Far from wanting restrictions lifted, Cin Cin has struggled with customers that have refused to abide by the rules in place for staff and customers' safety.

"It's really difficult to have to be the bad guy all the time and have to ask people to sit down, not dance, put their masks on when they're walking around," Tanya said.

"We've had a few negative people – I think are people just getting frustrated with it and not fully understanding the guidelines that we have to go by."

"Support your local businesses – the independent businesses who don't have banks of money to fall back on when things change."

Original Article