Andover’s pubs have given the introduction of the curfew a mixed response as they look back on how they have fared over the past weeks.

Since Thursday, September 24, all pubs and hospitality venues have been subject to a 10pm curfew, when they must close their doors.

Zandor Lowe, landlord of The Globe, described the curfew as an “absolute pain,” adding that “the Government didn’t think about this.”

“I don’t see what it’s going to achieve,” he told the Advertiser. “Everyone is being thrown out at the exact same time and converging together at taxi ranks and takeaways, as opposed to pubs where they’re kept apart.”

Matt Etherington, landlord of the Cricketers Inn in Longparish, was in agreement, saying the curfew “will not help control the virus.”

“It hasn’t helped,” he told the Advertiser. “Last night [Saturday, October 3], we were full. Some customers, particularly the later tables, wanted to order desserts but couldn’t because of the restrictions.

“Everyone left at exactly the same time, and were converging up road, where they would have been staggered from leaving the pub normally. It’s completely unhelpful.”

The landlord at the Station Inn, however, disagrees. “The only ones going to be hurt are the ones which stay open to silly o’clock,” Alex Gillies said. However, he told the Advertiser that he thought the 10pm curfew was too early, saying: “I think it should have been 11pm personally.”

Whatever the usefulness of the curfew, it has already had an impact on the pubs. “I’ve had to reduce staff hours,” said Zandor, “but I need double the staff for table service. You just can’t win. They were already tough times and now this will put us into more disarray.”

He continued: “A lot of pubs will be gone,” he said, “and people are buying alcohol at the supermarket. Once again, [the supermarkets] win.”

Zandor’s view that the new restrictions could lead to more closures is shared by Greg Mulholland, the Campaign Director of the organisation Campaign for Pubs. He said that the lack of support for these venues showed that “the Government turned its back on thousands of valued community pubs & thousands of hardworking publicans.”

He continued: “Without urgent support for wet-led pubs, the Government will be directly responsible for closures of many valued pubs & the destruction of our pub culture, so we ask the Chancellor to think again and support pubs through this crisis.”