Fringe Box



Effingham’s Plough, Another Pub With No Beer, and Not Much to Cheer

Published on: 5 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 6 Apr, 2020

Chris Dick talks to George Gillett, owner of The Plough pub in Orestan Lane, Effingham, about the impact Covid-19 is having on business.

George and Ewa Gillett at The Plough

On a quiet sunny afternoon (Friday, April 3)) during week two of the lockdown, George Gillett and I were sitting outside his Plough. No customers and worse still, no beer. The odd trade vehicle drove by, occupants pausing for a moment to exchange good-natured banter, but still no beer.

Between these pleasant interruptions, I asked George how the closing down had come into effect. “At the start it was, how shall I put it, the more mature lunchtime trade that stopped coming,” he said. “Then of course with the government’s advice, followed by the lockdown, the pub had to be closed.”

Could George and wife Ewa cope with an indefinite closure? “Well, it really depends on how long that actually means. In the short term, we can survive but heating, lighting and possibly council tax still have to be paid.

“We were providing takeaway services but that had to stop. Just like other pubs, we were unintentionally disadvantaging our staff.

“If they work say three hours, then the 80% government support does not kick in and they just get three hours worth of pay. So we had to stop takeaways. We have furloughed the staff.

“It also means we won’t buy drinks or food from our suppliers, which puts them at a disadvantage too.

“We should receive the £25,000 grant support. And if necessary we can also make use of the 12-month interest-free loan to tide us over.

“The real question is what will happen when the social distancing restrictions are lifted. Will our more mature lunchtime customers come back straight away? We just don’t know.”

George suggested maybe Italy might “act as the canary in the cage”. After the Italian government lift restrictions on social distancing, if there is no subsequent spike in cases, then hopefully, when the UK follows, the pub would recover its customers.

“On the plus side we are getting so much done at home,” George added. “It’s stuff that really needs doing but there is usually not enough time.”

His wife Ewa, the head chef, announced lunch was ready. I didn’t ask if that meant having a beer. It’s a lousy job, but someone has to clear the pipes.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *