CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘If we don’t re-open our pub, we’ll go bust’

North Star puts in measures to keep customers safe

03 July, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Natasha Purdom at the North Star with sons Jonti and Torann

PUBS have spent money on more staff and safety measures after being told they can re-open on Saturday.

The New Journal contacted a host of bars from around the borough to see how they were preparing, with some warning that their businesses were on the line of they did not get the doors open again swiftly.

The family-run North Star in Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, said it has had to triple its workforce in order to carry out its plan to help customers enjoy their first pint after three months of lockdown. Staff have been issued with visors and masks for the table service operation.

Landlady Natasha Purdom said: “We’re an independent business and we are reliant on money coming through. We have had no rent relief. Nothing to help us. We can’t afford to not open. It’s going to be a hard, long road and it still might not be enough for us. We’re a family business. My daughter and two sons are working here, and we live upstairs. But we’ve no idea if it will be busy, quiet or what.”

The pub said that safety was “paramount” and both customers and staff would have to get used to a more European style of service. We’ll have a zero tolerance on drunkenness,” said Ms Purdom. “But what if we have to ask someone to leave and they say don’t touch me? That’s going to be difficult for that. We’ve taken a few tables out and there will be 1 metre 30 distancing. You’ll have to wait outside to be seated and you will have to sanitise your hands.”

Customers will be able to visit an outdoor bar. “We’ve had heated tables put in,” said Ms Purdom on the cost of preparations. “Completely gutted the toilets, revarnished, put in new carpets and an alarm.” She added:  “We will be showing sports but it is something we will be monitoring. If causes an issue, we will discontinue it.”

Landlords across Camden have told the New Journal they will be asking customers to sign in on arrival. Police said they were preparing for a day like New Year’s Eve.

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