NORTHWICH bar owners have been reacting to the news the town will be placed into Tier 2 restrictions by the government from December 2.

Unlike the last time Cheshire and Chester West were placed into that tier, the restrictions this time are stricter, with pubs and restaurants only able to serve alcohol with a substantial meal.

For those bars and pubs that do not serve food, it means there is little prospect of being able to welcome any customers this side of Christmas, although a review of the current tier system will take place on December 16.

For Adam Prestage, Landlord of the Witton Chimes in the town centre, the news came as little surprise but was nonetheless "a bit of a crushing blow".

He said: "The decision's not a surprise I suppose but it's still a bit of a crushing blow with Christmas coming up.

"We've got a glimmer of hope in that they're going to review it on December 16.

"My only issue is, we did a table service anyway as part of the guidelines to remain open last time.

"I don't understand the difference between a table service serving beer and a table service serving food.

"I just don't get it."

"What's the difference between my pub and The Quayside across the road?"

With there being no way he could diversify his pub to provide food, it is simply a case of sitting the next three weeks out while awaiting further news, which he says is bitterly disappointing for his regulars.

"I think what people at the top don't understand is the roles pub's like mine play in the local community," he explained.

"I've been inundated with messages from regulars today.

"After the first lockdown, when customers came back in, you could see how being locked up for a few months had affected them.

"It's been a struggle for some people to rediscover any kind of social inclusion because they've been on their own for so long.

"Just look beneath the surface and have a look at what pubs can do for communities.

"Pubs have been here for about six or seven hundred years but it just seems like now it could be last orders for us."

After spending the best part of the last ten years running the pub, Adam says he doesn't understand how people in the area have found cause to cheer and welcome the news.

He added: "I've seen lots of people celebrating.

"For me, tier two is just the old tier three but people haven't quite grasped that yet and realised what it means for them all.

"It does have a massive impact if you take away the boozer's, what are people left with?

"After years of austerity who can afford to go out for a drink regularly if it means you've always got to pay for a meal as well?

"It's just a case of chest out and trying to remain as positive as I can."

Chris Mundie at the Salty Dog said he would have to take time to decide what the bar can realistically do for the time being.

He said: "I'm not 100 per cent what our position is yet.

"We'll take a bit of time out to digest things over the weekend.

"In general though it does look like pubs are getting the sharp end of the stick again."