Burnley Hospitality Hell: Usha owner taking 'one day at a time' after nightmare year

Disheartened Usha owner Ibby Ali has stopped thinking about how long it's going to be before he can open his doors again.
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Next year, the popular Rossendale Road restaurant is due to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Ibby, who spent last summer delivering free curries to the vulnerable, told the Burnley Express he just hopes they are still open then, and begged the Government not to forget about all the restaurants currently struggling.

Here is what he had to say:

Usha owner Ibby Ali with his son, AdnanUsha owner Ibby Ali with his son, Adnan
Usha owner Ibby Ali with his son, Adnan

What do you miss most about being open?

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The most important thing I miss is the team at work, my Usha family.

I miss the Saturday night rush, dropping that curry in the dish, along with the tandoori chef’s nan bread, and then looking through the kitchen doors to see we have a full house.

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Do you think the hospitality sector has been unfairly treated?

The treatment has been harsh for our industry. I believe we've just been treated as an easy walkover, as scapegoats.

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Things are going bad with Covid, the Government says 'Ok let’s close all bars and restaurants'. But will that keep people in? No, people make their own parties, where there's no Covid measures in place.

How much longer can your business survive lockdown?

I have stopped thinking about how long it's going to be before we open now, it’s too depressing. So, I’m taking one day at a time, and hopefully we will see brighter days soon.

What is your message to the Government?

Our message to the Government is, we understand the situation that you're in, and my heart goes out to all the people affected by this disease.

My father-in-law Mr Atthur Rhaman is on a ventilator as we speak, and I ask for prayers from everyone for his recovery.

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But we just want the Government to not forget about us. And not to put us at the bottom of the list when everything returns to normal.

Will Burnley bounce back stronger?

Burnley gave me everything I have. It gave me my livelihood, my children were born here. I love my town, and we will be back. And I promise you all, Usha will tag along.