Wigan pub owner makes plans to protect business

Holts Arms: Picture: The Holts Arms

The owner of the Holts Arms pub in Billinge, near Wigan, says he is facing an uncertain future because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Ian Mitty is planning changes to help the business survive social distancing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, including a launching a takeaway menu and opening an outdoor pizza oven for customers to take food home.

Mr Mitty admits government advice for customers to stay away while not ordering him to close is affecting his business.

“It’s very difficult at the moment,” he said. 

“We have to muddle through day to day. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen.

“It’s uncharted territory, I don’t really know where we’re going if I’m honest.

“It’s about the health of the staff, the wealth of the staff to make sure they’ve still got jobs and the health and safety of the customers as well.”

A nearby Insian restaurant, Babar Elephant, is also now offering a takeaway menu.

A spokesperson said: “Some customers might be frightened to go out, and this ensures people can have our meals and not be worried.”

The Holts Arms, which brought in doggy dinners last year, has brought in a takeaway menu to try and boost business while some customers choose to stay away, but Mr Mitty admits the future is uncertain.

“We’re trying to reinvent the wheel on the run at the same time, if that’s not mixing metaphors,” he said.

“Normally in this weather we’d be inundated. If we get through this, and it is an if, we really have to dig deep and see how long we can keep going. Not just pubs like ours, but smaller and bigger pubs.

“If it’s a few weeks, we’ll be fine, if it’s a few months, well, nobody can be sure.”