New gin bar in Warwick says 'pingdemic' has cost them more than £10,000 - but they can see light at the end of the tunnel

The owner says he is retaining certain restrictions including the requirement for customers to remain seated and adhere to the one metre distancing rule in the rear of the bar

The owner of a gin bar in Warwick has vowed it’s ‘business as usual’ despite having to overcome the latest challenge to his fledgling venture.

Steve Bazell, who has been forced to navigate a string of restrictions at That Gin & Cocktail Bar since it opened two months ago, says the ‘pingdemic’ has cost him more than £10,000 in the latest blow to trade.

But the entrepreneur, whose gin bar has been well received in Swan Street, says, despite this, customer safety continues to take priority even after all Covid restrictions have been lifted.

Chantelle Lee, Steve Bazell and mixologist Simon Greenwood. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography

He said: “The ‘pingdemic’ is another challenge to our business that no one would have foreseen even a few weeks ago and presents its own unique set of obstacles.

“We have had cancellations for our private hire room and the bar as people are worried about getting ‘pinged.’

"Coupled with people having to take a test before foreign travel, it all contributes to the ongoing challenges many businesses are facing.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is August 16 when hopefully people that are double vaccinated will not have to self-isolate if ‘pinged.’

Gin theatre. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography

"Also, by this date, a lot of those going away this summer will have returned or will be returning back imminently. We look forward to only a few weeks away when hopefully things will improve. “

Continuing with a cautious approach, Steve says he is retaining certain restrictions including the requirement for customers to remain seated and adhere to the one metre distancing rule in the rear of the bar.

He said: “We appreciate that there is some ambiguity, especially in relation to wearing of the masks, and also understand that the restrictions do permit a greater freedom.

"We feel it’s important to respect all opinions on the matter so in the front bar area we will allow standing and closer interactions and customers will be advised and given the choice about the two areas so they can make personal decisions all within the regulations.

Inside the gin bar. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography

“The customer is always forefront in our minds and with the latest relaxing of the restrictions we want to ensure that the customer experience plays front and centre.”

The venue is also gearing up to welcome back group bookings with the long-awaited launch of its private hire area which caters for up to 60 guests.

“After 18 months of missed celebrations and get-togethers we look forward to being able to host everything from birthday parties to product launches,” added Steve.

“Private hire bookings will be at the discretion of the person hiring. But we encourage customers to discuss any concerns they have and we will do our upmost to accommodate them so that they have a great time.”

Inside the gin bar. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography