A WHITCHURCH venue has told of life behind the scenes of the UK Government’s coronavirus lockdown.

Percy’s Café and Bar, in the Bullring, has joined the thousands of other venues across the UK in shutting down.

Unfortunately for bar owner Mark Steptoe, this means making tough decisions regarding his staff and the bands he had booked to play at the venue.

“We closed down early, and we remained closed on Friday which looking at the slating other bars have had on social media, was a good call,” said Mark.

“I did this because I did not want to put staff or customers at risk, one night’s takings when you will be closed for months is going to make no difference to any business.

“We had 32 international bands booked here up to autumn with 120 plus UK bands.

“Those booked up until May have cancelled, I suspect this could go on for three months plus and many more will be unable to play.

“I am in isolation and intend to stay that way.”

I have been in contact with my staff daily.

“I have not made any staff redundant and I am talking with my accountant over the matter of pay and the 80 per cent pay relief from the government, but at the moment this is still being set up and may be available at the end of April.

“We will obviously lose all draught beer to wastage which will probably amount to under £1,500, bottles will keep for months.

“Other things I have had to do which people don’t realise are reducing utility direct debits, regulate commercial bin pick-ups as fewer are necessary and cancel cleaners.

“I still have draught beers on which I am giving away to staff in old milk bottles, when it is gone all cellar equipment will need cleaning.

“I have removed all alcohol from the bar and switched off fridges, unnecessary lighting and power to save money.

“This will hit hard when I realise I have no takings to put in, but I only needed to open weekends to make the business viable.

“As a business we should be fine for a few months but long term who knows.

“I will be using my time to repair stuff, decorating and getting Percy’s ready for a re-open.

“People don’t know what they had until it is gone but at the moment we are not going anywhere.”