A pub in Worcester has been forced to can its plan for a grand re-opening at just after midnight after the government forced them to delay until 6am.
Ounce Bar and Kitchen, in Worcestershire, scrapped plans for a 00.01am re-opening following a Government announcement that regulations enforcing their closure will remain in place until Saturday (July 4) morning.
Some landlords – including the Worcestershire haunt which is hugely popular with locals – had planned to reopen their venues in England as the clock ticked past midnight.
But several hours before they were due to welcome customers, No 10 said on Friday afternoon the ban would now remain in place until later on Saturday morning.
Ounce had advertised its midnight re-opening on its website, saying: “Be the first at Ounce at one minute past midnight, July 4th 2020!
“We have great pleasure in telling you that we are re-opening our doors and taking bookings to cut your steak.
“We aren’t going to waste any time in serving you our amazing cuts and are offering a night that’s never been done before.
“Ounce is open for you on 04/07/2020 at 00.01am and we are inviting you to book now. Click on the booking widget and choose 12:00am.”
But now that page is dead, with the bar confirming on Facebook: “We cannot open our doors at 00.01am tonight. Apologies to everyone who had booked but we will not be opening.”
The pub adds: “Cannot believe they have only just announced this. Feel so sorry for our team that have been non stop prepping.
“See you at midday tomorrow.”
“Gutted,” wrote on patron, while a second added: “Seriously gutted.”
“Gutted for you,” a third agreed.
Ounce had 35 socially-distanced tables all sold out, with reports on social media suggesting the pub’s chef was in from 7am today, prepping the food.
The pub anticipated £2,000 in takings.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said while he welcomed the decision to keep pubs shut until 6am, the timing of the announcement was “very unhelpful”.
He said: “I think the lastminute.com approach to this is very unhelpful to policing and adds even more pressure to what is an already difficult situation.”
Mr Apter said the federation, which represents thousands of rank and file officers, had “raised concerns” about some pubs planning to open after midnight.
He said: “It is a good thing the Home Office has acted and has made the right decision keep pub doors firmly shut until 6am.
“I would urge the public to be responsible, sensible, and mindful of the restrictions that are still in place.”
While regulations allowing for the reopening of pubs and bars comes into force from 6am, licensing conditions will still apply – so venues can only open at the time they normally have permission for.