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Surfleet Seas End lifts the lid on Covid-19 problems

Owners of a popular pub have shared some of the difficulties faced by hospitality firms who have been forced to close their doors for much of the last year.

The Parker and Newall families had built up a thriving trade at The Ship Inn at Surfleet Seas End prior to the first lockdown.

But while Government grants have helped, they are still having to fork out for large bills covering utilities, equipment, licensing and insurance, with no income coming over the bar.

The Ship Inn at Surfleet Seas End (44399697)
The Ship Inn at Surfleet Seas End (44399697)

Publicans are also facing an issue with business interruption insurance not being paid out during the coronavirus outbreak .

Susan Parker said: “We pay out several thousand pounds of outgoings each month.

“There are little things that we still have to pay for like TV licensing but no-one is watching the television.

“We still have to pay a music licence but there is no-one listening to the music. We still have to pay for point of sales systems and licensing for equipment.

“The grants have helped and I haven’t got a word of complaint for what the Government has offered us. They don’t cover the monthly outgoings but it is still a tremendous help and we are grateful for it.”

A promise to buy the pub was fulfilled in 2002 when N Parker and Sons, a fourth generation family building firm, bought the Ship.

The family took over direct control of the pub in 2017 and had built up a successful business focusing on food and functions.

Along with bucking the national trend which was seeing many close for good, the Ship also has four bedrooms.

Susan said: “It is a fantastic family place to come and have a nice meal.”

Another issue facing hospitality is the ambiguity of when restrictions will be lifted for pubs to begin to serve alcohol again.

Susan said: “It is the uncertainity. We have no idea when we will be able to open. People have said between Easter and June.

“I am hopeful for the future. I am of the opinion that we open when it is safe. The health of others is more important than getting a pint but we need that support.

“Our insurance policy has just been renewed and we have not had the benefit of it.”

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