A PUB landlord fears lives are being put at risk to pay the bills as he prepares to reopen his village pub.

Nathan Todd runs Seaton’s Royal Oak, but while he is looking forward to seeing customers again, he felt the timing for reopening of businesses was being rushed.

He said: “I think lockdown is being lifted a little too early.

“My partner has Crohn’s disease so she’s at high risk, I can’t understand why now is the right time to open.

“I think we’ll be closed again by Christmas because we’ll get a second spike, I’d much rather they’d waited a little longer and then we can open for good.

“We need to open because I need to pay the bills, the grants we got were great but it’s not enough to survive any longer, which isn’t very nice.

“We’re having to put our lives at risk the pay the bills.”

Nathan said his pub was small and he expected things to be quite hard to manage, despite having all measures in place.

“I’ve put all the measures we can in place, after that it’s up to the public to follow the guidelines, hopefully that’s going to work," he said.

Dave Adam, landlord of the Pack Horse in the village, was taking bookings for the first day pubs were allowed to reopen and was fully booked.

However, he also voiced some concerns.

He said: “We can only get 42 people inside, when normally we can have 75. If that was all I had I wouldn’t be able to do it, but we have two gazebos so even if it rains we can have 30 people in there. I’m a bit apprehensive, but it should work, especially if the weather is nice.”

MP Mark Jenkinson lives in the village and he was keen to reiterate the Government had followed scientific evidence regarding easing lockdown. He said: “The Government has pulled out all the stops to support small businesses.

I think in west Cumbria we’ve got our heads screwed on and social distancing is quite normal for Northerners. I understand people’s fears but I think there comes a time when we have to learn to live with the virus.”