'10pm curfew could be the final straw for my business' says Warwick restaurateur

Pub and restaurant owners say today's curfew announcement is a 'kick in the teeth' for their businesses
Jorge Tirana, general manager at Tasca Dali, and owner Alex Clayton.Jorge Tirana, general manager at Tasca Dali, and owner Alex Clayton.
Jorge Tirana, general manager at Tasca Dali, and owner Alex Clayton.

A restaurateur in Warwick has warned the latest Government measures announced today (Tuesday) to control the pandemic could prove the final straw for his business.

Alex Clayton was forced to close Tasca Dali Spanish restaurant at the start of lockdown, resorting, like many others, to offering meal deliveries to try and keep his business alive.

Since then, despite being allowed to reopen on July, the business has adapted to months of continuous revisions to the guidance including an enforced 1m self-distancing rule, reducing customer capacity by a third, and a raft of stringent COVID-safety measures.

But today it was announced that pubs and restaurants have to adhere to a 10pm curfew and offer table-only service as part of a new raft of measures aiming to stem another sharp rise in positive cases of the virus.

Alex has described today’s further tightening of COVID-19 rules as a ‘kick in the teeth for the restaurant and pub sectors’ and is planning to open his doors earlier to compensate for the lost hour. He is also appealing to his customers to keep supporting him through the latest changes to trading.

He said: “We have already had a capacity for diners reduced by 55 per cent and now we shall lose the late turn of diners. Quite how an hour reduction in dining by one hour will have a positive impact on Covid transmission is mind boggling - I am not sure how we shall survive.

“Lockdowns and curfews do not work, responsible behaviour is the way to go, not the constant flip-flopping and scare-mongering we see from those that should know better. At the end of the day, our survival will come down to our amazing and loyal clients.

“We shall now be opening at 5pm every day for dinner Monday to Sunday with our award winning tasting menu. Diners can book in for 5pm-7 pm, 7pm-9pm, 6pm-8pm or 8pm-10pm. That way we hope to accommodate as many people as we can given the new guidelines and the distancing measures.”

Measures in place to make the premises COVID-Secure include tables set on arrival and disinfected between guests, no tablecloths, the use of paper napkins and staff wearing masks.

The restaurant is also one of very few to use a state-of-the-art air cleaning and recirculation system. The NASA technology uses ultra-violet light to sanitise the air as well as the surfaces it lands on.

Alex added: “These are incredibly complex times but thanks to our hardworking team, our customers and even the flexibility of our reservation software, I do hope we can make it through.”

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