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King’s Lynn pub’s struggle to survive

todayNovember 28, 2020 13

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An uncertain future lies ahead for a Lynn pub whose trade has been decimated by the coronavirus restrictions.

The Live and Let Live’s income has suffered an alarming 90 per cent drop. As it does not serve meals, it has had to remain shut for large parts of this year and reliant on a takeaway service to keep some money coming in.

But for landlady Rozi Woods, who has been welcoming customers to the pub for the last 20 years, the consequences of the pandemic have taken their toll.

Live and Let Live pub in Windsor Road, King's Lynn (43323969)
Live and Let Live pub in Windsor Road, King’s Lynn (43323969)

“I do get a little emotional about it – I could be facing the loss of my pub,” she said.

“I sincerely hope not but I’m just in the middle of doing the wages at the moment.”

Rozi, 59, acknowledges welcome financial support from the Government but says it only goes so far and furlough money is paid five to six weeks in arrears.

“I’m just extremely worried about paying my bills. I’m fortunate that I don’t have any big brewery bills looming,” she added.

The mulled cider being served as a takeaway product during the pub's closure (43323984)
The mulled cider being served as a takeaway product during the pub’s closure (43323984)

Thankfully, Live and Let Live’s annual seasonal production of warm mulled cider at £3 per pint has been as popular as ever with regulars armed with Thermos flasks. That and the sales of real ale have kept them returning to the door of the Windsor Road pub.

Even when the freehouse pub was allowed to open between the two lockdowns, guidelines dictated that only 15 to 20 people could be inside at any one time.

The building itself is old with narrow corridors meaning a one-way system had to be employed. Front-bar customers going to the toilet had to go out of the back door and round to the main entrance to return to their table.

Along with social distancing guidelines at tables, it’s led to frustration for some customers and confusion among others, some of whom are elderly or living with dementia.

Income was down but the wage bill rose because more staff were needed to carry out tasks such as greet people at the door and ensure they sanitise hands, table service and extra cleaning.

“I did try to do a Monday night shift on my own but I found there was just too much to do. I couldn’t do it all and be behind the bar as well,” said Rozi.

She’s hopeful that the mid-December review of Norfolk’s placing in Tier 2 will see restrictions eased and allow the pub to reopen. But even then she has reservations about trade.

“Would it be a viable proposition if I can’t have two people not in the same household sitting at the same table?

“Shops will be open, larger football grounds open, gyms and hairdresser’s open. There will be a lot of mixing – is anything really going to benefit?

“It just feels like we (the hospitality trade) are the scapegoat for it.”

She added: “I just hope we can reopen and welcome customers back sooner rather than later.”

Anyone wishing to place an order for draft or bottled beer or the mulled cider should call the pub on 01553 764990.

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todayNovember 28, 2020 39