Venue unveils Christmas plans with swipe at lack of government support

Sep 30, 2020

THE OWNERS of a restaurant and entertainment venue are planning to open in November ahead of the Christmas party season despite what they describe as “the lack of support and clarity from the government”.

Bistro Live is preparing to welcome guests from November 6. Its entertainment and food service will run between 6.30pm and 10pm in a COVID-safe environment.

It will serve tables of 6, run at 50% capacity with rigorous cleaning rigorous cleaning regimes in place and small ‘bubbles’ of staff to limit interactions.

But directors Mark Henderson and Fred Harlow have criticised the government for its support of the hospitality sector so far during the pandemic.

Mark Henderson

Mr Henderson said: “Nearly all late-night venues have had zero income since March and, while the furlough scheme helped us, we are now having to use our reserves to pay our people and keep the business afloat.

“Since March, we have had to contend with constantly changing rules and regulations: full lockdown for four months; only two households, no live entertainment and no dancing until the middle of September; the ‘rule of 6’ just recently and, to top it all off a 10pm curfew last week.

“And quite how the new Job Support Scheme with companies paying a member of staff 55% of their salary (with the government topping it up to 77%) for doing 33% of their normal hours is going to help businesses recover is quite beyond me.” 

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The venue is also planning to open at lunchtimes for Christmas events, from 12.30pm until 3.30pm. “It will give us the opportunity to showcase something a little different,” said director Fred Harlow.

“We have been working really hard over the last few weeks to come up with some brand new ideas to ensure that we can operate in a safe but fun, social yet distanced way and to get the venue ready for reopening.

“The feedback we have had so far from our customers has been very supportive so, as long as the government do not change the goalposts again, we are looking forward to re-opening the business and doing what we do best.”

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