FRUSTRATED landlords are preparing for months of closures after being thrown into “financial chaos” by the county moving into stricter tier three restrictions.

Worcestershire moved into the ‘very high’ risk tier three on Thursday (December 31) with stricter rules forcing pubs and restaurants not offering delivery or takeaway to close.

Jackie Barry, landlord of the Northwick Arms in Worcester, said the latest announcement capped off a year of bad news that had thrown the industry into “financial chaos.”

The landlord said she was preparing to be closed until at least March and could not see when the struggle would end.

“I completely get the lockdown and I know hospitals are struggling but you can get your hair and your nails done, you can go swimming, you can go to the shops and school and work,” she said. “But you can’t go the pub.

“You can’t meet people in a garden but there will be hundreds of people in a supermarket. Once again it’s just hospitality [that suffers]. I just don’t get it.”

Whilst grateful for some financial support, Mrs Barry said the pub would have made the same amount of money just on New Year’s Eve if it had been allowed to open.

“Some of the other smaller pubs haven’t been able to open at all,” she said.

“It has been really hard but what do we do? There’s nothing we can do except just suck it up and get on with it.

“I’ve told my customers I’ll see you in March because I don’t expect to be open before then. In the meantime, everything else just seems to carry on as normal.

“They’ve thrown us into financial chaos and there doesn’t seem to be an end to it.”

“I’m sure a lot of publicans and restaurateurs and other hospitality people feel exactly the same. We seem to be the whipping post for the spread of this virus and it’s not us.”

Sue Law, one of the owners of the family-run Holt Fleet pub on the banks of the River Severn near Worcester, said had expected the bad news but would be donating all of the pub’s leftovers to Worcester Street Café to help the homeless.

“To be honest I was expecting it and I won’t be surprised if we into tier four later on in the month.

“Hospitality has been hit again but all the shops are staying open and I can see everyone in tier four travelling to Worcester to shop but we’ll see.”

The pub has gone to great lengths in the past nine months to adapt to ever-changing lockdown rules for pubs and restaurants including buying pods for its beer garden and a converted horse trailer as an outdoor bar.

“Luckily we just have such supportive customers,” Mrs Law added. “They have been so supportive this year.

“We don’t open on the night on New Year’s Eve anyway, but we purposely ran our stock down because we had a feeling this would happen. All the fresh produce we don’t use today will be going to Worcester Street Café for the homeless. There’s loads of desserts and bread and everything else we can’t use so they will be coming to collect it tomorrow.

“At least there’s a bit of a positive thing to come out of it."