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‘You can go to the pub for a pie but not a pint’: Pubs frustrated over new COVID rules

Written by on 13 October 2020

They should be taking GBP80,000 at the bar at The Sandon pub in Liverpool this Saturday.

The Merseyside derby is normally one of their busiest fixtures where the staff are flat out. On average, they drain a 176-pint barrel of beer every four minutes.

The pub stands in the shadow of Anfield stadium and holds a special place in the club’s history – the paperwork that led to the formation of the club in 1892 was signed in the bar.

The back garden of The Sandon on a normal match day. Pic: The Sandon

“When you get here on matchdays you will never have experienced anything like it, it’s electric,” landlady Kate Stewart told us.

“It’s fans coming together, it’s doctors, it’s binmen, it’s so special.”

And now they are one of the thousand or so pubs across the Liverpool city region closing their doors as the city is placed under the new Tier 3 restrictions.

“To go to bed and have a business that turns over GBP5m and to wake up in the morning to something that turns over nothing and is draining my bank account is absolutely heartbreaking,” Ms Stewart added.

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“It’s like a death… and there’s not even any light at all at the end of the tunnel.”

Beneath the pub there’s a rabbit warren of cellars feeding over a hundred beer pumps in The Sandon’s various bars and function rooms.

Ms Stewart is again facing the prospect of losing thousands of pounds that she has tied up in the stock.

Kate Stewart says she faces losing thousands of pounds in stock
Kate Stewart says she faces losing thousands of pounds in stock

“I won’t let it go to waste – I’ll give it away if I have to,” she said.

“I have just got no goal right now. I’m a businesswoman with no business to run… I’m just dictated to by the government and COVID.”

The decision to close the doors is one that hurts, particularly when they have no faith in what the government is trying to do.

“I feel embarrassed by what the government are doing because it’s not clear, there’s no logic,” Ms Stewart said.

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“They tell you that you can go to a pub and have a pie in front of you but you can’t go to a pub and have a pint in front of you.

“It’s all a big joke and that’s why people aren’t adhering to it because they don’t believe what the government are telling them because it makes no sense.”

She continued: “We’ve got track and trace, we’ve got all the policies and procedures in place for COVID but now people will just have house parties and unregulated raves… that’s where the trouble is gonna start.

“We’ve done everything and they close us down… good luck with that as a plan.”