Coronavirus: Littlehampton bar owners react as people told to avoid offices, pubs and theatres

Coronavirus update
Coronavirus update

A range of stringent new measures were announced by the Prime Minister today in the efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

There are currently five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in West Sussex, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.

Addressing the public today, Boris Johnson announced a series of new measures including:

– Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres

– Everyone should work from home if they can

– All ‘unnecessary’ visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease

People over the age of 70, pregnant women, and adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases) should be particularly mindful of the advice.

But how will the new measures affect us locally in Littlehampton?

Ellie Boiling, landlady of The Dolphin pub in Littlehampton High Street, feared these measures would close her business for good.

She said: “I don’t know what to do. If the pub closes I don’t think it will open again without some help from the government.”

Ben Roberts runs The Standard P micropub in Sea Road, East Preston, which has been open for two months prior to the latest announcement.

He said: “You can imagine what a total lack of business will do to us. It isn’t ideal, but ultimately we have to deal with what the Government decides.”

The landlord said they were considering closing in the next few days: “In an ideal world we would like to stay open, but we have to think of our customers as well.”

In the last few days they had their ‘best weekend ever’, he said: “We have seen an upward trend in clientele coming through as we are getting more established and more regulars.

“We thought this weekend might have been people having a ‘last hurrah’ before they can’t do anything for however long.”

James Walsh, leader of Arun District Council, also reacted to the news. He said: “These are sensible precautions, drawing on the experience of countries who are ahead of us in the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19. They are designed to slow the spread of the disease so that the NHS is not overwhelmed in these early, still winter, weeks.

“Support for businesses can and must come from central Government, as local Government just does not have the resources locally. There is no need for panic, and certainly not panic buying at supermarkets, but a sensible approach to avoiding close contact, and self isolating if exhibiting a fever and a new dry cough.“

Do you run a local business? How will the latest announcements affect you? Get in touch at news@shorehamherald.co.uk