Drinkers in Andover are getting ready for a profound change in a British way of life
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that pubs in the UK must close “today” – “as soon as they reasonably can” – pubs will be trying their best to make the most of the last day of trading for quite some time.
Mt Johnson said that this situation will be reviewed “each month”, suggesting that the closures will be for longer than a single month.
Pub landlords across Andover will be conscious about a busy venue, where the coronavirus may spread while balancing the understandable necessity to take money over their bar, their very livelihood.
Victoria Harber, landlady of the Queen Charotte Inn on London Road said, “This is going to be extremely tough. Tonight will be our last night for sometime.
“We absolutely understand the need to protect people and we respectfully ask people to be be conscious of peoples’ space and please wash your hands.”
The Queen Charlotte has already had customers old and new arriving to wish Victoria and her team good luck over an uncertain period. Andover Radio’s DJ Dragon is hosting a ‘fun farewell disco tonight’.
Gyms, theatres and cinemas have also been told to close. Andover Leisure Centre has already closed its doors for the last time and restaurants around Andover such as Wimpy and Captain’s closed last night.
Venue director Heather Whittam said she was “devastated” earlier this week as she announced that Andover’s entertainment venue The Lights was closing its doors.
The Town Mills pub closed on Tuesday evening. New tenants at the Angel Inn on the upper high street earlier said they hope to “continue to be open until told otherwise.”
The government said it will “strictly” enforce pub and restaurant closures , Mr Johnson adding, that the UK’s licensing arrangements will make doing so “relatively simple”.
A statement from Alex and Romana Gillies at The Station Inn on Bridge Street said, “After today’s announcement tonight be will be our last night for the foreseeable.
“Please remember to wash your hands when you come in and be courteous to all.
The landlord and landlady who have run the busy live music pub for 15 year added, “Times are uncertain and emotions are high. Take care of each other and we will see you on the other side”.
The Redbridge aims to remain open until 2am. The Globe and Lardi Cake in town have been closed for some time.
The chancellor has said that the government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.
Test Valley Borough Council have said they are awaiting confirmation on how to distribute the chancellor’s financial support packages up to £25,000 for small businesses affected by enforced closures.