A pub landlord has been phoning her regular punters in lockdown as she admits being unable to open up is impacting on her and her customers.

Donna Ferguson of The Corporation Arms can’t wait until the industry is given the go ahead to eventually reopen and promises a party atmosphere when it is safe to do so.

Running a pub is more than just serving thirsty punters – many thrive on the social aspect of the business, becoming friends with regulars and providing a listening ear.

But since coronavirus restrictions, including tier 3 rules, forced pubs to close, customers have now missed those friendly, face-to-face chats for months and Donna says she’s missing their company too.

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Landlady Donna Ferguson, right with customer Sharon Jones at their Christmas party on November 4, knowing they would not have a chance to party
Landlady Donna Ferguson, right with customer Sharon Jones at their Christmas party on November 4, knowing they would not have a chance to party

She said: “I am going stir crazy. I still go into the pub because managers still have to check on the buildings and we have been doing a few little jobs. Having customers is company for us as well.

“You just have to take it a day at a time. We are all in the same boat.

“I have kept in contact with customers. A lot of them are OAPs and the staff and I have been phoning them.

“One had a mini-stroke in the lockdown so I keep in touch with her and another had Covid so I have been calling him. We just care as much as we can.”

Donna said she is always asked when her pub on Freeman Street will eventually open again but until Boris Johnson gives the go ahead, all they can do is patiently wait.

She said: “Every day when I am out shopping people ask when we will be opening. But all I can say is how long is a piece of string?”

Downing Street plans have suggested pubs may reopen to some degree in April or May, with some reports claiming they’d only be able to serve soft drinks.



Customers and the landlady of The Corporation Arms in Freeman Street, Grimsby support local good causes
Customers and the landlady of The Corporation Arms in Freeman Street, Grimsby support local good causes

Donna said this would be unviable and has hit back at the Government for keeping pubs closed under tier 3 lockdown restrictions before Christmas, when places like gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons were allowed to stay open.

She said: “Lockdown is blaming the hospitality sector for most of this. But when gyms, salons and non-essential shops were open the cases went right up – we were closed.

“We make sure people keep to social distancing otherwise they are out.

“People have mentioned pubs can open but not sell alcohol. That isn’t going to attract people back into the pub.

“Soft drinks cost more in pubs and people would rather buy them in shops and drink at home, then they are in their own bubbles.

“I hope we can open in May and what a party that is going to be. It will be like a New Year’s party.

Donna is also missing holding events for charity, including for the Fishermen’s Mission and cancer causes.

She also likes holding events for the community and was disappointed they could not hold a VE Day commemoration last year.

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The Nunsthorpe Tavern in Grimsby
The Nunsthorpe Tavern in Grimsby

Elsewhere, customers have taken to social media to say how much they are missing The Nunsthorpe Tavern on Sutcliffe Avenue.

One staff member said: “Everyone wants us to open up as soon as we can, but I think it will be later rather than sooner.

“It’s all over social media how much people are missing us. It is like an old parish church where people used to meet and we do a lot for local charities.”

Find out the latest coronavirus cases near you

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said lockdowns have reduced sales by 56 per cent – worth £7.8bn – last year.

Campaigners have urged Government to state a date when the hospitality sector can reopen.





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