Tier three announcement reaction: ‘It feels like Armageddon, I just feel like crying’ says Leamington restaurateur

News today of no imminent escape for his business from the Tier 3 restrictions has prompted fresh criticism of the measures which, he claims, could signal ‘ruin’ for hospitality in Warwickshire

‘Armageddon’ for the sector – this is the reaction from the owner of a new Leamington restaurant that’s remained closed for longer than it’s been open due to the pandemic, following today’s Government announcement.

Jose Ribeiro, who says he is losing more than £2k for every week We Love Pizza is closed, has only been permitted to welcome diners for 60 days since its launch in September – despite taking over the lease for the Regent Place unit in late February.

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And news today of no imminent escape for his business from the Tier 3 restrictions, has prompted fresh criticism of the measures which, he claims, could signal ‘ruin’ for hospitality in Warwickshire.

Jose Ribeiro outside We Love Pizza in Leamington. Photo supplied

Mr Ribeiro said: “It feels like Armageddon, I just feel like crying.

"Once again, the government is acting without any rhyme nor reason, no science to back up the decisions they’re making, and hospitality once again bears the brunt of this pandemic.

“For us a new business opening at reduced capacity during the lockdown period, Christmas was the best chance for the restaurant that I manage to make the cash to get us through the rest of winter.

"After a massive amount of work, we thought we had made it to the other side of the tunnel – now we can’t even see the other side."

The team at We Love Pizza in Leamington. Photo submitted

He added: “If we need everything to close, then close everything. I am tired of this ‘soft’ lockdown tiering system, continually opening and closing businesses.

"It clearly is not working. Enforce a serious lockdown if that is what is necessary.

“Trying to stop the bucket from leaking without plugging all the holes is impossible, silly and a complete waste of time and energy.”

It is the biggest challenge faced by the experienced restaurateur who has worked as a consultant for the last 26 years, his projects taking him around the world, including New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

He opened We Love Pizza after spending three years as general manager at Leamington’s Bedford Street live music venue.

Jose and his team have maintained deliveries and takeaways throughout the restrictions but fears this latest setback to Christmas trade could prove decisive for a number of local businesses.

He said: “We managed to establish a solid delivery service throughout November so we would have something to fall back on, however we cannot keep operating with this in-and-out approach.

"It’s not fair on us, our staff or our customers.

"The only glimmer of hope for 2020 was a bit of Christmas trading in Leamington so for that to be removed is like the rug being pulled from under our feet again.

"We’ve got festive dishes and drinks ready to be served by staff who are desperate to be at work – it’s cruel.

“We Love Pizza will survive due to the amazing customers that order from us daily for delivery and collection through our own app and website but this will have a devastating impact on the mental health of our teams and keeping Leamington in Tier 3 will see many, many more previously successful hospitality businesses facing ruin.”

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