Burnley Hospitality Hell: Remedy owner does not want return to tier system at end of lockdown

Remedy owner Gaz Ali does not want a repeat of the tier system 'fiasco' that saw drinkers travelling to Yorkshire and Liverpool while bars in Burnley were shut.
Remedy Bar, Burnley.Remedy Bar, Burnley.
Remedy Bar, Burnley.

Gaz, who runs the Ormerod Street bar with partners Madge Nawaz and Ben Blackburn, said it was extremely frustrating watching people travel to other tiers for nights out before Christmas.

While confident there will be an initial boom when venues re-open, he is concerned about what the future holds long-term for the sector.

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What do you miss most about being open?

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I miss the bar being open. Obviously there is the financial implication, but I found that I had a strong connection with my regulars. I view the majority of them as friends and enjoyed a good banter with them.

Remedy was a safe lively environment with a diverse customer base where everyone was welcomed and had a good time. Also, for single people it was a place they could come and not feel alone.

Do you think the pub/bar trade can survive another summer of disruption?

I cannot speak for other bars but hopefully when we re-open, we are hoping for some busy nights going forward. We're never going to recuperate what we lost from being closed, but luckily me and my partners all have day jobs to keep us going.

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We were lucky that there was some financial support available from the Government in the form of grants. And the council cancelling all business rates also helped.

Hospitality has taken a big hit not only for the venue owners, but for everyone who relied on it from bar staff, DJs, and the service industry, which supplied these venues with alcohol, food etc.

I am worried about the long-term implications of the support we did receive though as the Government will have to recover this somehow.

Is the tier system the right approach to exiting lockdown?

My honest belief is the Government made a mess of how it handled the whole tier fiasco.

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We should have gone into full lockdown nationally, shut the boarders and taken control of the situation. The tier system doesn't work. People are always going to take advantage of it.

Remember how people were travelling to Yorkshire and Liverpool for nights out. It was frustrating to see our venues closed and people travelling out for a night out.

Will Burnley bounce back stronger?

I can see very busy weekends when the Government allows us to open, but what will the future bring?

People's drinking habits may change. They have had over a year to think about other things instead of the weekend session.

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The economic factors may come into play as well with people losing their jobs etc.

I am being optimistic by saying that every weekend will be like a Bank Holiday weekend, and we will be rammed. But at the back of my mind I'm wondering will people still be wary about the legacy that Covid has left behind.