Salisbury businesses react to Prime Minister’s road map

LIFE in Salisbury, and across the rest of the country, will gradually return to some normality in the coming months as restrictions are slowly lifted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown earlier this week – a four-stage plan driven by the data as opposed to dates, he says.

Schools will be the first to reopen from March 8 when there will also be some changes to socialising.

But businesses in retail and personal care will have to wait longer to reopen – no earlier than April 12.

For pubs and restaurants wanting to welcome customers indoors the wait is even longer – no earlier than May 17.

And for nightclubs, providing cases, rates and deaths continue to head in the right direction, the hope is to reopen from June 21.

The cautious plan has attracted mixed reaction in the city.

The Old Mill Hotel

The Old Mill Hotel

Hotel manager Tommy Roberts said: “If it means that by opening this cautiously we won’t have another lockdown then it’s a wise plan.”

Tommy manages The Cathedral Hotel on Milford Street and The Old Mill Hotel in Harnham.

On April 12, he will be able to welcome customers back to the beer garden of the Old Mill.

But it won’t be until May 17 that both venues can fully reopen indoors.

Jayne Prigent

Jayne Prigent

Salon owner Jayne Prigent said she feels more “uplifted” now there is a date for the reopening – even if that’s seven weeks away.

‘Positive but cautious’

But for other businesses, it’s too early to say.

Dave Hancock

Dave Hancock

Responding to the latest lockdown announcement Dave Hancock, who runs Deacons, Caboose and Tinga in Salisbury, says the news is “positive”, but they are remaining cautious.

He said: “It still all depends on what Rishi Sunak says in the budget next week.

“We still need long term support, and for the help we’ve been given so far to continue for at least another year.

“Most hospitality businesses will have stacks of debt to HMRC, suppliers, landlords, etc. The rates relief and support payments we’ve had up to this point for Tinga have been nowhere near enough to even cover rent, utility bills and national insurance payments, let alone enough to keep us going, so there has to be pressure on the government.”

Amanda Newbery. Picture by Spencer Mulholland

Amanda Newbery – Picture by Spencer Mulholland

This is a message reiterated by Amanda Newbery.

Amanda, of The Chapel nightclub, the Purple Flag Steering Group and Salisbury Pubwatch, said meetings within the nighttime economy and hospitality industry are currently underway to “discuss reopening and how we can do that safely”.

She said: “We want to get businesses up and running as soon and as safely as we can.

“We are lucky in Salisbury as so many pubs have gardens, whereas other places are a bit more stuck for the time being.”

Amanda added: “It does depend on this business support if they are viable to reopen.

“Some [businesses] will stay shut without the support, that is for sure. We need to make sure everyone is getting vaccinated and everyone stays safe.”

‘It doesn’t make sense’

William Grant, owner of Stonehenge Campsite, says the road map “doesn’t make sense”, and called it “absolutely ridiculous”.

The site has been housing homeless people during lockdown, and My Grant is now worried he may have to tell them to leave, as they can no longer open the toilet facilities.

Stonehenge Campsite. ..Owner William Grant. DC6392P8..Picture by Tom Gregory.

Stonehenge Campsite, owner William Grant. DC6392P8. Picture by Tom Gregory.

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Salisbury Journal | News