Tier 3 restrictions a ‘kick in the teeth’ for Blackpool B&B owners

People out in Blackpool during the illuminations
People out in Blackpool during the illuminations - (Copyright PA Wire)
12:07pm, Sat 17 Oct 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

B&B owners in Blackpool have said they face a “bleak” future, as guests cancel bookings following the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire.

October is traditionally one of the busiest periods for the seaside town as crowds flock to see the Blackpool Illuminations during the school half-term holidays, local business owners said.

But they fear the new Covid-19 measures, which came into force on Saturday, will drive tourists away, despite some attractions remaining open.

Coronavirus – Wed Sep 23, 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

Adam Mayes, who runs the 10-bedroom Phoenix Guest House on Cocker Street, said the restrictions were a “kick in the teeth” for B&B owners.

He told the PA news agency: “Since Tier 3 was announced, we have already lost £500-worth of bookings for the next two weeks.

“Half-term for us is usually our busiest week of the whole year, and now we are down to just six bookings.

“So now we are considering closing for the remainder of the year because it does not feel worthwhile to remain open. It’s a bit bleak.”

Mr Mayes said many prospective guests were under the impression that Blackpool was now “closed” due to the new restrictions.

But he claimed that some pubs will be serving sit-down meals, meaning they can remain open, while the illuminations will stay switched on until January 3.

Around 1.5 million people in Lancashire are now living under the most severe coronavirus controls, with pubs and bars required to close unless they can serve meals and indoor mixing banned.

Residents in “high alert” level areas can travel to hotels, but should only do so with their own household or support bubble, according to Government advice.

Stewart Norris, owner of the Sutton Park B&B on Woodfield Road, Blackpool, said he had lost about £1,500 in bookings since the measures were announced.

He told PA: “For this weekend, next weekend and the weekend after, we are looking at eight cancellations of different groups of guests.

“On a Saturday night in October we would normally be fully booked with families and couples, but instead we have two double rooms arriving tonight, and that’s only because their travel agent won’t refund them.”

Mr Norris, whose B&B has 10 rooms, said he had managed to move some bookings to next year as guests had “given up on 2020”.

Meanwhile, Kerry Humphries, licensee of The Mitre pub, said she had to temporarily close on Friday as her premises did not have a “major food menu”.

She said: “To be fair, our brewery Star Pubs and Bars said pubs which have shut down completely don’t have to pay rent. Without that we would be pulling our hair out.

“The issue is that they (the Government) have put us into Tier 3, but I have not seen anywhere how long that could last for.”

Blackpool Council leader Lynn Williams said in a statement: “No leader wants to see their town, its people, its businesses and its economy under such measures but that is now the reality of the situation and we will do everything we can to support our residents through this extremely challenging time.”

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