Well we are well into week 3 of total lockdown.
We’ve had to stop the food takeout as the demand wasn’t meeting the salary bill and we’ve been forced into furloughing our fulltime staff in order to protect the business and ride out this storm.
We then had the issue of having 6 kegs of real ale and 5-6 casks of draft lager to get rid of very quickly or dump on the flower beds. We still had a few regulars dropping by for takeouts but that wasn’t going to get through the stock before it went off. Donna has been notified as very high risk on account of her brittle asthma and it set her to remembering the amazing staff that got her back on her feet again after going into a coma a couple of years back after a particularly bad attack. It was then that we drew up a scheme on our chalkboards to get rid of the beer quicker. We offered 2 pint carryouts for free to any key workers.
Day 1 we had quite a few drive-bys from police cars and we started to wonder if maybe we were contravening the liqueur law which states that alcohol cannot be sold for a cheaper price than which is was purchased. That evening we had 3 separate visits from policemen and women in their own cars & civilian clothes who I passed orders to through the front window. It was no effort as I was busy stripping and prepping the walls of the lounge until 1am, as well as ripping up the old moth eaten carpet. It was actually a sad experience as I lamented on the stories that old battered floor covering could tell. Just before I went to bed, there was a tap on the window and a minibus full of nurses jumped out and I served them, finishing off the cask of Westons Cider, “thank you” I said. “No thank you, we’ve been dying for a pint since my husband saw your sign and I told everyone.”
Day 2 I was woken by a phone call asking if we were able to allow a driver to pick up xxx number of containers on the way to their work for the last evening night shift. I agreed and an hour later they were on their way to somewhere (I shall not mention) where they were very much appreciated.
The next five days we were nobly assisted by nurses, doctors, paramedics, teachers, firemen, RAF personnel, Dustbin Men, Post Staff, Amazon drivers and some local elders (whom I dropped off to) in saving 10 barrels of beverages from fertilizing the beer garden.
We will admit to the warm glow it gave us to make some people feel wanted and appreciated but its also given us the will to carry on and get this place sorted out to the best of our ability. I am hearing a lot about businesses that wont make it through and how much money the owners will lose. For us its “the dream” of having our own pub restaurant and the lifestyle that comes with it. We will survive this and we wont forget those that don’t and more importantly we will put the people who kept the country running for us at the heart of everything we do at The Maltsters.