BUSINESSES in Cumbria have reacted to the new coronavirus restrictions which will lead to more challenges for the industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a range of measures, with several set to hit the hospitality industry hard.

The restrictions include:

  • From tomorrow (Thursday) pubs, bars, restaurants and hospitality venues must close from 10pm
  • Table service is a requirement for these businesses, except for takeaways
  • Face coverings must be worn by all staff working in retail
  • Businesses not following the rules face closure or fines by local authorities

The Prime Minister said the restrictions announced were expected to be in place for the next six months.

Stephanie Skelly, owner of the Georgian House hotel in Whitehaven, said: "We need to nip this in the bud. The Covid-19 rules apply to everywhere.

"Everywhere our staff go they are wearing face masks. I am just thankful they didn't shut us down.

"People need to wake up to it, some people have got a bit complacent. That is the situation in my view."

Taking a different view is the landlord of the Royal Scot in the Morton area of Carlisle.

"I feel sick to my stomach," said Mike Grierson.

"We have done everything we have been asked to do. Our staff have been brilliant, customers have been brilliant."

He said work has now begun to make the pub even safer for customers.

"We are trying to reshuffle again to keep people apart. We are going to need extra staff for table service.

"We are having our own Cobra meeting with staff after Mr Johnson's announcement. We are going to sit down and take ideas from everybody and try and pool thoughts on how we can deal with it."

Meanwhile, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) North West Regional Chairman Chris Manka, said: “We’ve already suffered from six months of disruption linked to this virus, and small businesses and the self-employed will be dismayed at facing another six months of restrictions.

“As we’re hit by a second phase of Covid-19, it’s paramount that the Government urgently steps forward with an ambitious second round of support measures to help firms survive. The job retention scheme is ending in six weeks and the deadline for bounce back loan applications is rapidly approaching.

“Many businesses – particularly those at the heart of our nighttime economy and events industries – are now seriously fearing for their futures. Having lost the summer, a lot of them would’ve been pinning their hopes to increased trade in the run-up to Christmas. Their plans are now in disarray."