A north-east pub and hotel may not be able to reopen when the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted after the “devastating” impact of virus measures.
Bennachie Lodge in Kemnay was gearing up for its most successful year yet, with a healthy number of room bookings and events planned for the venue’s beer garden.
But when the coronavirus pandemic struck, the business’s future was cast into doubt.
Licensee Sandy Elrick said: “We’ve put all our staff on furlough. We will probably have enough money to pay them this time but, going forward after that, that’s us.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen after that.”
The business, which has a total of 10 staff including Sandy, was looking forward to a bumper year with strong booking numbers and a host of events lined up, including musicians and weddings, all of which are now up in the air.
Sandy said: “This will be our fourth year we’ve been open.
“This looked to be the year it was really going to take off and make some money.
“We’d put a lot of effort into it and had a lot of rooms booked. It’s really devastating for us.
Despite the UK Government furlough scheme being launched, Sandy said he had concerns, saying: “We don’t know if they’re going to pay this 80% furlough money.
“It’s a really worrying time for the trade as a whole.”
He added: “We’ve done a bit of decorating and tidying, we’ve been cleaning the hotel. We’ve refurbished the restaurant and done a bit of work in the reception.
“But whether we’ll get to open again or not I don’t know.”
Pub owner Colin Cameron has also been affected.
Mr Cameron, who owns the Kirkgate Bar, Bridge Bar and Masada Bar, vowed his pubs would be ready and waiting with a pint for the regulars as soon as it was deemed safe to reopen.
“I’ve just been going in every day as a security check and started to do a deep clean to give me something to do,” he said.
“Staffwise I’m happy they’re all sitting there champing at the bit waiting to start again.
“What sort of start we’ll get when we do open, whether it’s a mad rush to the pub, I kind of hope it will be so we can make up some of the lost income.”