‘The last thing we need is to open and then close again’

A Market Rasen businessman has expressed his concerns about the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Trevor Guerin at The March Hare. Picture: Dianne Tuckett.

Trevor Guerin owns The March Hare in the town’s market place and has been providing takeaways since the UK went into lockdown in January.

Although some hospitality businesses are looking forward to re-opening on April 12, Trevor will not be so lucky.

Due to the location of The March Hare, there is no outdoor dining area, so he will have to wait until May 17 - at the earliest - to get his business fully up and running again.

Kings Head Tealby beer garden EMN-210329-150241001

However, Trevor has expressed concerns that future phases of lockdown easing may be postponed - due to Covid-19 and how many people are vaccinated.

He said: “I am sceptical that May 17 will be the date (we are allowed to re-open). Certainly the last thing hospitality needs is to re-open and then close again in August or September due to another rise in cases and strain on the NHS.”

There is hope that in the future the market place could be developed into a ‘plaza’ style area, allowing The March Hare to benefit from an outdoor seating area, but that is some way off.

Fellow businessman Darren Lince, who owns The Advocate Arms, The White Swan and The George, has described the coming weeks as ‘frustrating’.

The White Swan, Market Rasen EMN-210329-150350001

He said while he is able to open on April 12, he has fears the unpredictable nature of British weather could hamper serving customers outdoors.

He also stresses restaurants, such as The Advocate, are very different settings to pubs and cafes.

On February 22, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.

From April 12, hospitality venues have been given the green light to serve people outdoors only.

The George, Market Rasen

According to the roadmap, there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and there will be no 10pm curfew – although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.

Mr Johnson is set to address the nation on April 5 and could give a glimpse into whether the planned lockdown easing on April 12 will still go ahead.

This news has been welcomed by many in the hospitality sector – although some have been left frustrated as they don’t have an outdoor dining area and will therefore have to wait until May 17, when indoor hospitality is allowed to resume.

Trevor Guerin from The March Hare, in Market Place, is looking forward to May 17, providing everything continues to go to plan with the gradual phasing of lockdown restrictions.

Market Rasen Town Cricket and Association Football Club are looking forward to welcoming back visitors to Rase Park.

Trevor admits the Government has handled the easing of lockdown better than last year, despite the frustrations he is currently facing.

He said: “I am working hard behind the scenes to refurbish the March Hare and I am having a slight steer in direction and feel to the place.

“We shall be launching a brand new menus for both food and drink and cannot wait to share these new dishes and drinks with our current and new customers.”

Darren Lince owns The Advocate Arms, The White Swan and The George, in Market Rasen.

He said: “I appreciate that a gradual roll out across the hospitality sector is a necessity – my frustration though is that restaurants and pubs are very different from one another.

“In terms of business, the second easing is not enough, and whilst we will open we do not expect trade to revert to pre-pandemic levels when we can only trade externally, indeed, we are likely to run at a loss as a business but what it does give my teams is a phased return to work after a long period of furlough, which I know they are all looking forward to.

“We are looking forward to re-opening and hope both professionally and personally that the country remains on track to achieve these dates, and that we revert back to some sense of normality in June.”

Sol Pickwell Nicolaou, who runs the King’s Head at Tealby, is looking forward to welcoming customers back, and says they will continue to follow all Government guidelines.

He explained: “We’ve been busy getting ready for our re-opening on April 12 – fingers crossed there is no U-turn after the announcement on April 5.

“Given the very unpredictable British weather, we have invested in a couple of large gazebos so there will be shelter even outdoors.

“We will continue with Track and Trace and follow all Government guidelines.

“We have gone above and beyond at a great cost to ensure the welfare of both customers and our staff.

“We operated successfully with no issues on reopening in July last year and we will endeavour to do the same again with safety first in mind.”

The possibility of introducing a document which proves if a person has been vaccinated, or tested negative, for coronavirus is currently under review by ministers.

While the Prime Minister has suggested that introducing such a document in pubs may be decided by individual landlords, the idea has come under scrutiny.

Sol added: “As regards to only allowing vaccinated customers, I feel yet again that the hospitality industry is being put in the spotlight.

“Will supermarkets be following this criteria?”

At Market Rasen Town Cricket and Association Football Club, staff are looking forward to serving drinkers in their outdoor area from Tuesday, April 13.

A spokesman said: “We at Market Rasen Town Cricket and Association Football Club are looking forward to welcoming back visitors to Rase Park.

“Our cricket and football clubs start training again this week and we are preparing to open for outside drinking on Tuesday, April 13, which is the same night our men’s football team are at home.

“We have been shut for over four months and have missed out on hosting some big fundraising events.

“We encourage everyone to come down and support their local sports club and enjoy a drink and live sport with friends and family.”

At the Advocate Arms, in Queen Street, staff are urging diners to book their table for outdoor dining.

The Advocate Arms is open for rooms for business too, and will open everyday from 9am from April 12.

The White Swan, in Market Rasen, will be open every day from noon until close from April 12

Customers are encouraged to reserve a table by calling 01673 843356 or emailing [email protected]

The George, in George Street, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April 16.