So as part of my lock down diaries, I have decided to share my experience of how I have found it difficult emotionally at times, going two and a half months of not seeing my family, which has put on strain on my mental health and well being and living the furlough life; worrying if or not I have a job to go back to by the end of all this but one way of managing these difficulties is by keeping busy. Prior to lock down I was off work for a month undergoing treatment for mental health difficulties which were triggered by events in my private life, so you can imagine I was more than happy after my period for being off sick, to be happy to return to work, at the timber roofed, cottage style country pub, where I work as an Assistant Manager. Further more this was a return to work cut short, as a week and a half later, the government decided to close all pubs in the UK and go into lock down.
It didn’t feel real at first when I went back to work, this news of coronavirus, I remember saying to my manager when I was at work, ”it’ll all blow over soon” and I thought it was one of those depictations from the media exaggerating, but I was wrong. Each day I was at work, the pub that on a typical lunchtime would have 60 diners on a steady day, got emptier and emptier, it was like some alternate universe, but at the same I kept saying to myself, ”it’ll all be over by next week” as Boris Johnson announced on the news for the public to stay away from all bars and restaurants, this put my business owners in limbo, to quote how my boss addressed our situation on ITV News, ”It’s like we have been thrown under a bus.” Do you know what she was right? The government telling the public to stay away from these hospitality venues, but didn’t give us instruction. As a management team, we didn’t want to let our customers down, especially our ones that were eager to come in for lunch and catch up with their loved up ones, or those ramblers that like to stop and have a pint by the Victorian style fireplace with their dogs. We had 205 people booked in for mothers day at the start of the week, and this then went down to barely any as the week went on, the pub got emptier and emptier each day; my co assistant manager and I was cleaning everything thoroughly back and forth all over again. The pub was like ghost town each day, the mothers day bookings were dropping like flies each day.
After anticipation and waiting for the 6pm news, the government declared us officially closed; Emma my boss, finally had some guidance and instruction on what to do, still there was a long road ahead as we didn’t know when we would be able to open back up and if some of us were eligible for furlough payment; but after days of contacting HR consultants and working with other local pubs and media and press, giving hospitality a voice, she could finally temporarily relax. When the government declared hospitality closed it was like a huge weight had been lifted. I had a tear to my eye as I finished what would be my last shift for a while, after I tried everything I could to help, saying goodbye for now for the rest of my full time colleagues, who were the last ones left, it felt like the end of an era, an emotional goodbye, and the regulars all serenading drunk and full of emotion that their local boozer, and heart of the Warwickshire village community wasn’t to be their second home for a while.
I had to think of it as not goodbye but see you later. All we can do for any of you co-workers in hospitality, we are all in the same boat, so for me it’s just a case of sitting tight and playing the waiting game.
Your obedient servant Ellie x