Why one of the Harrogate district's most popular pubs cannot reopen next week

An award-winning Knaresborough pub says it is not viable to reopen in Tier 2.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 1:09 pm

Located near the low bridge at Abbey Road in Knaresborough, The Half Moon has thrived for much of the last decade since an extensive and impressive refurbishment to this historic pub transformed its fortunes and reputation.

Despite its popularity and even though it offers cheese and meat boards and pizza nights, it says it is not viable to open its doors under the latest lockdown rules announced earlier in the week by the Government.

Flashback to 2014 and a CAMRA award for owner Max Harrison and the Half Moon team in Knaresborough - "as a small, wet-led pub it’s just not viable to reopen."

Before Wednesday's announcement by the Government that the whole of North Yorkshire was going to be put into Tier 2, The Half Moon's owners Max and Katie Harrison had said they could only open their popular pub if Harrogate was in Tier 1.

Max and Katie said: "We agree a tier system which allows a more tailored approach rather than a national blanket one is sensible for the economy and for businesses like ours.

"If we are put back into tier 1 which from a business perspective is the same as pre-lockdown with the exception of last orders being called at 10pm rather than 9.30pm, we’ll be able to reopen and benefit from the festive season trade."

With the news that Knaresborough, like Harrogate, is for the moment in Tier 2, the Half Moon has taken the tough decision to stick to their word.

In a detailed statement to loyal customers, Max and Katie said:

"The Tier 2 rules for hospitality state:

"1 Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

"2 No indoor mixing of households.

"So, we’ve taken the difficult decision not to reopen our doors under these current regulations."

They added:

"Since reopening on July 4, trading conditions have been much tougher than pre-COVID. "We’ve had reduced capacity inside and outside and twice as many team members per shift to accommodate the table service and additional cleaning requirements alongside reservation handling.

"With the onset of winter and far less use of our outside areas, our already limited capacity (only 9 indoor tables, 4 of which can only seat a maximum of 2 people to be COVID compliant) will be further impacted.

"As a small, wet-led pub, with households now banned from mixing indoors, coupled with the rule that customers can only purchase alcohol alongside a substantial meal, it’s just not viable to reopen.

"We were hoping to be in Tier 1 and are still hopeful that we will move to Tier 1 soon. As and when this happens, we’re really looking forward to reopening our doors.

"A huge thanks to everyone who has supported us over recent months. We really appreciate it."

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