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Restaurant owner says more support is needed for those due to open new businesses

Posted on - 30th March, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, People, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston
Smashed restaurant
Smashed restaurant had plans to open in March

A new restaurant which was set to open at the Miller Arcade on March 27 has had to remain unopened to the public.

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Like many other businesses in the hospitality industry, the closure is to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Smashed is a restaurant and bar with retro game consoles, owned by businessman Mickey Jerome.

Mickey owns a business in Blackpool with a partner but had been looking to open a restaurant in Preston for a while. Once he found the perfect city centre location, he was keen to launch despite the building needing a lot of work. The downstairs area has now been turned into a basement seating area and the upstairs is a kitchen and bar.  

Mickey said: “We took on the building in January and set our opening date for 27th March.

“However due to Covid-19, everything went on hold from 14th March when the government announced restaurants and bars to close.

“Being a diabetic and doing all the work myself, all work halted and we were ready to isolate. I’ve had to halt the electrician, the plumber and the artist.

“I’d also employed staff and have had to explain that I can’t currently take them on.”  

Read more: How Prestonians are responding to coronavirus lockdown rules

Mickey said that because the business isn’t actually trading and the restaurant launch date was in the Covid-19 lockdown, he’s not entitled to any help or grants.

“We have contacted local MPs local Councils and none of them are any help.

“I contacted businesssupport.gov.uk who told me that I should be entitled to a small grant due to being a registered business since January and occupying the building, trading or not trading, however Preston Council disagrees and will not escalate this higher.

“I feel like I’m just being passed around with no help. The most difficult part is paying rent and service charges on a building that I physically can’t open.

“I need my business to accumulate money so that I can pay the outgoings. I’m currently waiting to see if the landlord can help.”

Mickey feels the only thing that he can do right now is to wait until the lockdown is over. He will then complete the remaining work and hope to get the restaurant open.  

He said: “My next stage is to try go higher and contact higher MP’s.

“It is such a grey area and there must be many more in my situation. People that have plans to open a business and are mid-way but then the coronavirus put life to a halt. The government have put necessary action into place but promised that no business shall be affected…. we will help! Well, I see no help in this grey area.”

Are you in the same situation as Mickey? How has the current pandemic affected your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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