Chancellor pays visit as Chiswick riverside pub prepares to reopen
Rishi Sunak polishes cutlery at Chiswick pub
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, paid a visit to the Bell & Crown in Chiswick this Friday (3 July).
He was there to see the preparation Fuller's were making to reopen their riverside pub. The Chancellor met and chatted to some of the staff at the pub coming off furlough. He spoke with the pub's Head Chef and Manager about how they plan to enforce social distancing and adjust working practices to minimise staff and customer contact. He also helped out by moving barrels of beer and cleaning cutlery.
The aim of the visit was to spread the government's message of encouraging people to go out and spend to aid an economic recovery. The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the outbreak, with most of the county's pubs and restaurants having to stop trading entirely. This has left staff without jobs, resulting in 1.4 million workers in the hospitality sector being furloughed, including more than 90% of staff in the pub sector.
Mr Sunak, who is a teetotaller, said he would be doing his bit later by taking his wife to a tapas restaurant in London.
Chanceller rolls out the barrel a the Bell & Crown
Also on hand was Simon Emeny, the chief executive of Fuller's, who had successfully lobbied the government to change their social distancing guidelines. He personally tested the two-metre rule at the Bell & Crown and concluded that the capacity would fall by 80% from around 120 customers to just 28. He said, 'At this level of trade, it would be impossible to operate financially'.
The Chancellor said, “The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people's livelihoods - Britain's pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people - which is why it's such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely.”
The Chancellor chats to Bell & Crown staff
Simon Emeny said. “It's fantastic to welcome back our teams and see the pubs getting ready to reopen and greet our customers. We will continue to open our pubs in a phased and gradual manner over the coming weeks and we're really proud of the steps we've taken to protect our employees and our guests. It might look and feel slightly different, but I know our fantastic pub teams will still be able to deliver the great experience our customers expect from a Fuller's pub.”
The Bell & Crown is one of the 27 pubs in the Fuller's chain that is reopening on 4 July but, as they are anticipating high levels of demand, you will have to book a table. They were previously open for click and collect orders.
Fuller's, with the aim of having over 80% of their pubs and hotels open safely by the end of July. More than 600 of their staff will return from furlough this weekend.
As for others Fuller's pubs in the Chiswick area, the George IV is going to reopen on 15 July. The Pilot, One Over the Ait, and The Old Pack Horse will return at a date to be decided after the opening of the George IV. The George and Devonshire is tenanted and is not opening this weekend.
July 4, 2020