THE owner of Hatton Estate has hailed the great outdoors and the Chancellor’s latest business support measures as a big step forward in the fight against ‘widespread carnage of the hospitality sector.’
Johnnie Arkwright, who runs Hatton Arms and Hatton Country World in Warwick, has welcomed the tax cut and meal voucher scheme as a saviour for many pubs, restaurants and cafes which continue to see a reduced footfall in visitors.
The Eat Out to Help Out registration service went live this morning on GOV.UK, allowing businesses to join the scheme, announced last week by Rishi Sunak.
Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments who use the scheme will offer a 50 per cent reduction, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all diners who eat and/or drink-in throughout August.
Now, summer sunshine could hold the key to a return to business as usual with the completion of the Hatton Arms’ outdoor Terrace Dining and new Garden Bar and barbecue.
Johnnie said: “The Government do appear to realise that with a population that has become used to dining at home and is nervous of confined spaces when going out coupled with the reduction of capacity levels because of the need to socially distance, the avoidance of widespread carnage in a hospitality sector that provides three million jobs is a big challenge.”
The popular country pub, which was forced to close its doors in March just one month after a refurbishment, is now inviting diners to make the most of one of the best views in Warwickshire – from its own back garden.
Johnnie said: “The countryside has to be the answer for leading us out of lockdown. At Hatton Arms, Hatton Adventure World and Hatton Shopping Village we are lucky enough to have loads of fresh air and bags of space. And that’s what all of us cooped up at home for months are looking for.
“At Hatton Arms we are lucky enough to have a large outside terrace and massive gardens overlooking Hatton Locks. Both, unsurprisingly, are proving really popular with their iconic views down the famous Hatton Locks, the longest flight of locks on the Grand Union Canal.
“The Government’s new voucher scheme is a really good initiative that Hatton Arms and Hatton Country World will certainly be signing up to, including the new café, Alfie’s, in the shopping village courtyard.
“And the reduction in VAT will help operators like us contend with the extra costs of introducing measures in line with Government Guidelines to maximise the safety of their guests and staff which is of course our top priority.”
Although weather dependent, outdoor seating is available on a first come, first served basis, between 5-8pm on Friday and Saturday and 12-8pm on Sunday. The barbecue will be serving between 5-8pm on Friday nights, 1-8pm on Saturdays and 12-5pm on Sundays. The popular takeaway service, introduced in lockdown, will also be continued and is available 1-8pm Monday to Saturday and 12.30-4.30pm on Sundays. Breakfast baps are also available from the garden bar from 9am-11am on Saturday and Sunday.
For those who prefer to eat inside the restaurant, the team have also been working hard to make the space COVID-Secure, including sanitisation points, social distancing markers, a one-way system and track and trace measures.
Health experts say evidence shows coronavirus spreads much less readily outdoors because of the ventilation factor, which, according to Johnnie Arkwright is already enticing visitors back to both Hatton Adventure World and Shopping Village.
The Victorian farm buildings here house 20 independent shops including a garden centre and farm shop created by TV presenter Lottie Newitt, two jewellers, antiques and furniture barns, gifts and home accessories, electric bike shop, gin distillery and cafe – as well as a Hole in the Wall that serves pints and traditional ales alongside tasty hot snacks.
Johnnie said: “We’re all feeling for the small independent shops that had to close in March and, on re-opening recently, remain fearful for their livelihoods.
“But the pandemic has revived a real sense of community, that desire to help those who have been hit the hardest. And we can help by giving these small businesses our custom.
“What can be safer than all that fresh air and space to socially distance in the rolling Warwickshire countryside.”