A COUPLE who run a pub and restaurant say they will be facing a bleak Christmas this year due to the ongoing lockdown situation.

Grace Pilkington and Lee Wright took over the Britannia in Oswaldtwistle in February just before the onset of the pandemic.

Though they were well aware that the Haslingden Road venue had been through a number of different tenants and managers they believed they had the skills and determination to turn things around.

Ms Pilkington said: “We knew we would have to work hard to build the reputation back, but my partner Lee is a talented chef and we were confident that the risk would pay off.

“However what we could not have predicted was Covid.

“We got off to a good start and felt that the local community welcomed us and the regulars were enjoying coming in again but just as business was improving, we were closed.”

Pubs have been one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic and have been much missed by the communities they serve during both the first and second lockdown.

However in this case the couple have been especially disappointed not to have been able to open for Christmas, having put so much effort into building an impressive Christmas display.

Ms Pilkington said: “We were all ready for Christmas on the understanding we’d be opening again but with the tiers still in place it's just become too difficult for people to make bookings.

“We are now sat facing a bleak Christmas in an empty restaurant, our Christmas reindeers unseen by the children they were meant to delight.”

Ms Pilkington and Mr Wright now hope to open again in the new year once they are able to do so again and hope that customers will support them.

However, they have been disappointed by the lack of support they have received from local and national authorities, with their concerns echoed by national bodies who have called on the government to do more to keep local pubs alive.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The current grants are not even enough to cover fixed costs in a pub, and now must compensate for the revenue pubs and breweries will lose as a result of these additional restrictions."