Popular Chesterfield cafe shares empty bookings diary and warns it could be forced out of business in weeks
A popular cafe in Chesterfield fears it could be forced out of business within weeks due to the new Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.
The Vintage Tea Rooms on New Beetwell Street made the dire warning after sharing a photo of its empty bookings diary for Monday, October 19,
Posting on Facebook, owner Sharon Hilton wrote: “In the three years since I proudly took ownership of the tea rooms, this is the first time this has happened.
"If you can, please safely and legally support your local independent businesses. We need you now more than ever before.”
Ms Hilton said she was heartened by the ‘amazing’ response to the post but that wouldn’t pay the bills.
She claimed she would rather be forced to close if it meant getting some government support rather than stay open with no financial aid under Tier 2 restrictions, which came into force in Chesterfield on Saturday and prohibit households mixing indoors.
"The phone’s not really ringing, and it’s looking pretty grim,” she said.
"We have no bookings today, none for Wednesday and none for Friday. If you go back to last Monday, we had 11 tables booked and lots of walk-ins too.
"The weekend wasn’t so bad because at the weekend people want to go out with their family.
"But in the week we normally get mums who have dropped their kids off at school, mums with pushchairs meeting up with friends, older customers meeting up and the ladies who lunch crowd, none of whom are coming with the new restrictions.
"They’ve allowed us to stay open but taken away all our customers. We can’t carry on like this and if nothing changes we’re looking at another six to eight weeks before we would have to close.
"We employ eight people so it’s not just me and my business, it’s those eight members of staff who would be affected too. I would rather be closed with support than open with no support.
"I understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and at some stage the Government will just run out of money, and I appreciate there’s no easy answer.
"But it’s a very sad day for Chesterfield when all the cafes and bars start shutting down and potentially not reopening, because Chesterfield has struggled anyway.”