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Suffolk pub company seeks clarity on Government scheme to support staff affected by enforced closures due to coronavirus pandemic

An independent pub company has called for more clarity on the Government’s proposed support measures for hospitality workers, as closures take effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fox in Bulmer Tye and The Crown in Hartest are among five Suffolk pubs operated by Gusto Pronto to have closed on Monday, as businesses across the hospitality trade shut their doors this week.

Husband-and-wife team David and Roxane Marjoram, who launched Gusto Pronto in 2008, took the decision ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement of major restrictions on public gatherings, in response to the reduction in trade over the last few weeks.

The Fox in Bulmer Tye....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (18137696)
The Fox in Bulmer Tye....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (18137696)

Roxane told the Free Press they have been forced to adapt quickly by the rapidly developing situation, as new public guidance about the virus has been issued.

She added that they are keen to keep the staff across their sites in Suffolk, but would like to hear more details from the Government on its planned Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme, aimed at supporting businesses affected by the pandemic.

“We’re hoping to be able to retain our teams going forward,” she said. “There has been support announced by the Government, but, while this will be very welcome, it will still be a very difficult time, particularly in this trade.

The Fox in Bulmer Tye..Pictured: Owner Roxane and David Marjoram ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (18137698)
The Fox in Bulmer Tye..Pictured: Owner Roxane and David Marjoram ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (18137698)

“We have been processing the announcements and looking at how to best operate the company, while protecting our staff and customers. We’ve certainly never experienced anything quite like this.

“Everything has stopped for the time being and we will monitor the situation closely. We can’t wait for that day when the announcement comes that pubs can open again and people are encouraged to go out again. But, until that happens, we just have to wait and see.”

Prior to the full closures taking effect this week, the Gusto Pronto pubs operated food and drink takeaway and drive-through services during the latter stages of last week, and Roxane thanked all customers who had supported the businesses during this time.

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