Basingstoke’s pubs have given the introduction of the curfew a mixed response as they look back on how they have fared over the past weeks.

Since Thursday, September 24, all pubs and hospitality venues have been subject to a 10pm curfew, when they must close their doors.

Rachel, manager of The Queens Arms, said that the restrictions had affected the pub’s business, so they were “taking a lot less than what we did.”

“We were just getting back on track,” she said, “and now we’re going back down slowly. It’s a lot harder shutting at 10.”

She described the curfew as “a bit silly,” saying that she doesn’t “see how it’s going to work, as it doesn’t matter what time it is.”

“We’re going to get more busy in the day,” she added.

Matt Etherington, landlord of the Cricketers Inn in Longparish, was in agreement, saying the curfew “will not help control the virus.”

“It hasn’t helped,” he told the Gazette. “Last night [Saturday, October 3], we were full. Some customers, particularly the later tables, wanted to order desserts but couldn’t because of the restrictions.

“Everyone left at exactly the same time, and were converging up road, where they would have been staggered from leaving the pub normally. It’s completely unhelpful.”

The manager at The Rising Sun, however, disagrees. “It’s pretty good actually, we’re not getting many complaints,” Les Jarrett told the Gazette.

“We’re still getting regular customers, and they all understand the restrictions. The only thing it is affecting is that hour we lose at the end of the day.”

For some pubs, however, the restrictions are having such an impact that they are at a very real risk of closure. Greg Mulholland, Campaign Director of the organisation Campaign for Pubs, said that the lack of support for these venues showed that “the Government turned its back on thousands of valued community pubs & thousands of hardworking publicans.”

He continued: “Without urgent support for wet-led pubs, the Government will be directly responsible for closures of many valued pubs & the destruction of our pub culture, so we ask the Chancellor to think again and support pubs through this crisis.”`