More Herefordshire pub landlords have told of fears for their businesses after the introduction of new government coronavirus restrictions.

As of Thursday this week, pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm, to stem the sharp rise in Covid cases nationally.

Chris Howell, landlord of the Oak Inn in Bromyard Road, Ledbury, and Hannah Joplin, of the Farmers Arms in Wellington Heath, both expect to lose customers.

Mr Howell, who runs the Oak with his partner Heather Owen, said: “We’re going to lose money as we have four guestrooms on site for holiday makers to use as a ‘staycation’, which is proving popular as people want a break without going abroad.


"Guests in these rooms tend to eat later as they don’t have to worry about drinking and driving and can fully relax.

“People using these guest rooms won’t have the option of extending their stay as the pub closes at 10pm, which is usually a big part of their stay.

“Those ordering a three-course meal will have to book early in order to finish their meal before 10pm.”

Miss Joplin, who helps run her family’s pub, the Farmers Arms in Wellington Heath, said: “My biggest worry is the public’s perception of it being safe to eat out, at a time when people are worried.

"Closing early will affect numbers, particularly at the weekend where people might be busy on a Saturday and not want to cook and then go and eat out late.

“We have a takeaway service, which is great, but if we push that more then we’d have to factor in another wage for someone to deliver the food as we live in the countryside.

"During the winter, we usually see less numbers in the pub anyway and this will be further reduced by the curfew.

"We have a large beer garden but who wants to sit out there in the cold and wet?

“I completely understand the need to keep us all safe and we are living through a very difficult situation.”

Kai Hodgson, landlord of the Trumpet Inn, near Ledbury, said the 10pm closing rule "will affect us just at a time when the hospitality industry is getting back on its feet".

"It could result in less people, particularly at the weekend when people like to go out and eat late and take their time," he said.

"“However, our last orders for food is at 8.30pm so this should give people enough time to relax and eat by 10pm.”

A spokesman for the Full Pitcher, New Street, Ledbury, didn't expect the pub to suffer, saying: “We’ll be all right as we close before 10pm anyway and we offer a takeaway service so we might see more people using that side of things.”

Earlier we reported how Phil Price, landlord at the Barrels in St Owens Street, Hereford, said not being able to serve behind the bar will be 'alien' for himself and staff.

He said he fears the new restrictions will destroy the magic of traditional pubs like his.

Meanwhile, with people being encouraged to work from home where they can, employees at a carpet shop will continue for the time being to operate as usual.

Neil Davey, who works at Ledbury Carpets and Interiors in Dymock Road, said: “There are only two members of staff here, so we’ll be fine to work as we are doing. We limit the number of customers and we all wear protective equipment to reduce any risk.”