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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Cold Ash publican says impact of Covid-19 hit business 'like a brick'

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Cold Ash publican says impact of Covid-19 hit business 'like a brick'

A VILLAGE pub has said it is doing everything it can to stay alive, despite the impact of coronavirus hitting it “like a brick”.

The Spotted Dog in Cold Ash closed its doors following the Government telling pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés to shut in a bid to enforce social distancing rules. 

The Gladstone Lane pub is striving to keep an income and is running a pizza collection service.

The Spotted Dog is also showing its support for the NHS by leaving its Christmas tree lights on every night as a token gesture. 

Landlord Kevin Dobson (pictured with his wife Caroline) said the move to close pubs “was the final nail in the coffin”.

He said: “We had been expecting it, but it came so suddenly that we have been left with quite a lot of stock in the cellar that’s going to go out of date.”

The pub had 172 people booked in for Mother’s Day before the Government orders to close pubs came through.

Mr Dobson said: “As soon as the Government started telling people not to go to clubs, bars and restaurants they were dropping like flies.”

He said the pub had purchased around £4,000 worth of stock for Mother’s Day, but gave most of it away: “We gave a lot of the potatoes away to local people and meat that we already had frozen. 

“A lot of people had a free Sunday lunch on me. People were coming with pots and pans and taking away what veg they wanted. 

“That would have been a mega one for us and we would have taken about £4,000 to £5,0000.”

“It’s hurt me. I paid all my staff that week even though we were inactive.

“We would have done 400 to 500 average meals a week.

“That week from the Tuesday to the weekend we had 28 meals. It hit us like a brick, sudden impact.” 

The Spotted Dog, which is in the top five restaurants in Berkshire on TripAdvisor, has revitalised its Papa Luigi pizza menu during the Covid-19 closure.

“We are trying to do a few pizzas just to keep going,” Mr Dobson said.

Mr Dobson, who with Caroline, is home-schooling their children Harrison and Carter, said: “We’re here with two children just doing all we can, like the rest of the country, to survive. We are doing our best.”

He said that The Spotted Dog had 14 valued staff with the pub for 10 years going on to furlough.

Although Mr Dobson said he had paid staff for the hours they worked, there was uncertainty over the furlough pay period. 

“My main concern is my staff,” he said. “Once the portal goes live you can bet it’s going to crash the first day.

“They’re not going to get any pay until then. Until that happens we are up the swanny.”

Appealing to customers, he said: “I promise all of our fantastic customers that we will have a massive party with the best prices ever in re-opening.

“Please stay safe.”

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