Burnley Hospitality Hell: Illuminati owner sees lockdown as chance for town to bounce back stronger

"Burnley can definitely bounce back from this...I see it as another chance for the town."

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 12:40 pm

James Gibb, who has owned Illuminati for just over a year-and-a-half, said that working through the pandemic had been a true test of durability and adaptability, and he was eternally grateful to customers for supporting their takeaway food and cocktails.

Here is what he had to say about life under lockdown:

What do you miss most about being open?

Illuminati owner James Gibb

The one thing I miss most about being open is the people. I got into this industry to be able to create an experience for everyone to enjoy, whether it's dining with us in the evening or partying all night we just can’t wait for it all to be back.

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Do you think the hospitality sector has been unfairly treated?

The hospitality sector has definitely been treated with the short end of the stick in my eyes.

We have had to deal with some of the strictest restrictions whilst being open making it near impossible to support business overheads, whether it was the 10pm curfew or having to serve a "substantial meal” they really made an effort to cripple any small pubs or bars which weren’t able to adjust quick enough.

How much longer can your business survive lockdown?

In our current position we have managed to build enough of a loyal customer base through our takeaway to cover costs and with the grants we can apply for we should be able to make it to the other side of lockdown.

The only question is how long will bars and restaurants have to wait to open their doors after everyone else.

What is your message to the Government?

To the Government I can only ask that they continue their vaccination efforts to make it safe for people to be able to come out and socialise as soon as possible, whether it's for a pint with your mate or a meal out with the family.

I think the effects of lockdown will have a much deeper impact on mental health than they realise.

Will Burnley bounce back stronger?

Burnley can definitely bounce back from this...I see it as another chance for the town.

Hopefully before then venue owners, council members and police can meet to discuss what our hometown needs to make it a safe and captivating destination for the public.