Bums on Seats

First published Dec 2020 in Ferment Magazine, issue 60

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You can use furniture to reveal Covid’s impact on Britain’s pubs.

Ian McGrath, the general manager, says trade is ‘vastly reduced’ since Covid hit. “It’s tough,” he tells me. “You’re managing staff, but you’re also managing people, you’re also managing all these rules and regulations and things that need to be complied with. It’s a lot more work. It’s a lot more work, and a lot less money coming in. It’s stressful.”

To reopen safely, he had to remove 30 of the pub’s 88 seats. Stools that once lined the bar are now stacked along one wall of the disabled toilet. Tables and chairs lie in the darkened basement among bottles of ageing beer.

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