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Sunday, 11 April 2021
A PUB in Binfield Heath has decided to close a takeaway kiosk after attracting too many visitors.
The Bottle & Glass Inn had been selling hot drinks and snacks from a converted horsebox in an effort to continue having some trade during the coronavirus lockdown.
It was open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 8am to 4pm.
However, demand exceeded expectation and there were groups of people gathering nearby.
David Holliday, the pub’s
co-owner, said: “Our aim over the past few weeks has been to offer takeaway coffee and snacks to walkers and passers-by but entirely dependent on demand.
“Having reviewed the weekend usage, it is apparent demand is beyond what we were anticipating.
“While we are confident our offering is extremely safe, with strict distancing and queuing measures in place, as well as being entirely outdoors, we cannot have groups and larger numbers of people gathering.
“We will therefore be closing the horsebox and takeaway with immediate effect.
“It is a kick in the teeth from a business point of view but we can be quite happy and proud that we are doing the right thing.
“We said that we would review how busy it was and while it was perfectly acceptable and legal to have it open, we felt the only responsible thing to do would be to close it for a period of time.
“We didn’t want to be the reason for lots of people coming out and congregating, which is a difficult thing to avoid if you’ve got something that lots of people want to enjoy.
“It is a shame, but at the end of the day you can rebuild businesses. We have to take a longer view of this and take the health of our staff and the general public into consideration.
“We felt that, even though it would be detrimental to our business, the only responsible thing to do would be to shut it.” The decision means that all the pub’s staff will be put on furlough.
“The pub car park will remain open for visitors as it is used by people for daily exercise.
However, Mr Holliday says there has been a problem with people walking in fields that are privately owned and hanging dog waste bags on trees.
He said: “I don’t want to point the finger of blame at anybody. If you have a car park where hundreds of people want to come at the weekend, by definition those people will find it tough to walk down a footpath and adhere to all the guidelines.
“I don’t blame any of our customers — going for a walk at the moment is one of the most important things for your mental health, which is why we are not closing our car park.
“We just didn’t want to have high numbers of people congregating at certain times while we were serving hot drinks. If we still experience large numbers of cars, we will be forced to close the car park indefinitely.
“We would ask that all walkers stick strictly to the footpaths, moving to one side to let others pass when needed. We ask that you please don’t walk on the crop fields as these aren’t a public right of way.
“Please remove all dog bags and do not leave them on trees and hedges for others to clean up. Please also do not litter. We provide free general waste and dog bins at the start of the footpath.”
Customers praised the pub’s decision to close the kiosk.
Caryn Blazey said: “It’s not very often that a business closes its doors due to too much business, so kudos for making that decision.
“We were out walking and saw lots of people with coffee cups walking through the woods and, unfortunately, saw some cups discarded on the floor.”
Caroline Elizabeth said: “What a responsible response. I suppose you can’t blame people buying from businesses which are open but having a coffee is not an essential journey or activity.
“If only more did this sort of thing we’d be out of this quicker.
“I’ll be sure to visit you when you’re open again and it is safe to do so. Businesses like yours should be applauded and supported.”
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