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White Hart pub in Boxford takes first step on road to recovery from coronavirus crisis after welcoming back customers




The White Hart in Boxford had been operating for just three weeks and four days under its new management, following two years of closure, when the coronavirus lockdown forced its doors to shut again.

Business partners Aran Henderson and Rebecca Brown described the resulting three months of lost trade as a huge blow, particularly with the expense of their recent relocation, following a year at The Fleece over the road.

Despite the challenges, The White Hart made its first step on the road to recovery on Saturday, when it was among thousands of businesses across the UK to welcome back customers, serving them exclusively in the pub’s outdoor area to maintain social distancing.

The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Andy and Chloe Malpass with Harvey. Dean and Sarah Warren with Ella...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888568)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Andy and Chloe Malpass with Harvey. Dean and Sarah Warren with Ella...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888568)

Aran, a 16-year veteran of the pub trade, told the Free Press they are lucky to be part of such a supportive community in Boxford, but acknowledged it will likely be more than a year before the business returns to pre-lockdown status.

“The lockdown has had a massive impact,” said the 36-year-old. “Another couple of months and it could have destroyed us.

“You can imagine how much it costs to move and we had to close. The lockdown happened three weeks into moving into our new site.

The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Chris Smiles, Scott Frost, Dave Ormes and Gemma Arbon...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888571)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Chris Smiles, Scott Frost, Dave Ormes and Gemma Arbon...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888571)

“It wasn’t even financially viable for us to stay open as a takeaway. We’ve lost half the summer, so it’s a big hit.

“It’s very hard as a pub to break even. The hospitality trade has taken a huge hit.

“There’s so much to reopening as well. It feels like money out of our pocket at every corner.

The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Craig and Clare Robinson with Alex Robinson and son Ronnie (2 months)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888573)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Craig and Clare Robinson with Alex Robinson and son Ronnie (2 months)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888573)

“We do feel a bit hard done by, but we did survive it, and we’re really fortunate that we can open again.

“I’m really impressed by the way the community has responded. Boxford is a really nice village, and we’re blessed with the support of the community.

“I would like to think I could be optimistic. It’s probably going to take about 18 months to get back to normal, to get back to where we were before we closed.

The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Owen Morgan with Bronwen Cottrell and Bella Morgan (2). Charlie Williams and Hannah Goode...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888567)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Owen Morgan with Bronwen Cottrell and Bella Morgan (2). Charlie Williams and Hannah Goode...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888567)

“We’ve got our fingers crossed, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Aran added that the pub has also maintained its connections with local producers and suppliers to ensure all items on its food menu remain locally sourced, stating the pub takes pride in being able to tell customers exactly where their meals have come from.

To get in touch with The White Hart in Boxford, call 01787 211071 or go to www.whitehartboxford.com.

The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Aran Henderson...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888570)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Aran Henderson...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888570)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Locals Helen And Peter Barton...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888569)
The White Hart in Boxford has reopened its outdoor area to customers, following three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic...Pictured: Locals Helen And Peter Barton...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (37888569)

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