Tourism and hospitality: how coronavirus has affected Tenby

This article was written prior to the recent roadmap announcements in Wales.

During the pandemic, hospitality was the worst-hit sector as bars and restaurants were forced to shut. 

Many staff were furloughed, and countless others have lost their jobs, or worse lost their business, especially in tourism towns.

Tenby in South Wales is well known for its seaside resorts and beautiful beaches, particularly in summer when the tourism season hits.

It’s known as the “Fortlet of the Fish” in Welsh (Dinbych-y-pysgod) due to the medieval castle walls surrounding the town.

Within the castle walls are many shops, cafes and pubs that are linked together by cobbled streets.

One of the most popular pubs in the town and neighbouring towns is the Hope & Anchor. 

Pub manager Daryl Brown, stood outside the Hope & Anchor | Credit: Bethan Case

The Hope & Anchor is the closest pub to the harbour and beaches. it is known as a locals’ pub but can be very popular with tourists in the summer.

The pub has had a significant amount of loss on alcohol, food and money.

The British Beer and Pub Association  has said that an average of 87 million pints of beer has been wasted in the pandemic. 

Daryl Brown, a manager in the pub, has also lost a significant amount of money due to the closure of pubs.

Daryl said: “Pubs closing last March has lost us hundreds of pounds, especially in the summertime, as hours were cut short by the government rules.

“Summer and the Christmas period is a vital part for the pub – it’s where I make most of my wage due to 13 hour shifts and tips from customers and where my boss makes most of his money.

“The pub can easily make thousands of pounds in those periods as well, especially on bank holiday weekends.” 

Watch this interview with Daryl Brown as we learn about furlough struggles and how the pub adapted for covid-19. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson shut the hospitality sector on the 20th March 2020, and it wasn’t till July 13th, that pubs in Wales could reopen outside. 

While it was a victory for the sector, it still affected the pub and staff members. 

Daryl said: “Reopening the pubs last July really helped the staff members, including me, but our hours got decreased.

“I went from doing 13 hour shifts six days a week to only doing seven hours four days a week.”

Another staff member, Louis Davies, 20, suffered as well with hours cutting. 

“In the summer period, I can work anywhere between ten and 12 hour shifts a week, but last year I worked three or four days only doing six hours. 

“Since the closure of pubs in December I have struggled massively with money and now I’m just praying everything will be back to normal this summer,” said Louis

Pubs closed again in December last year as the UK went into another lockdown. 

Wales vs England Roadmaps

England released a roadmap of when they can reopen pubs and restaurants. 

Wales have yet to release any key dates.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that tourism holiday homes that are solely self-catered can reopen on April 12. 

While that brings some hope to the tourism sector, the hospitality sector remains an unknown. 

“It’s quite annoying if I’m honest, we just want to know when will be back at work, especially as England have an idea,” said Louis.

“I don’t see the point of opening the holiday homes if nothing else is open.

“They are only just thinking of opening non-essential shops.”

Mark Drakeford, in a live Q&A , when asked about the reopening of hospitality said: “Considering in the second half of April is the first reopening of hospitality where it can operate outdoors.”

Tenby Harbour | Credit: Bethan Case

Neil Thompson, a regular local in the Hope and Anchor, is missing the pubs being open. 

Neil said: “I live on my own, and it’s hard not being able to go see your mates in the local after you finish work.

“Working on the boats all day, all you crave is a few pints, and I’m missing that a tremendous amount. 

“It’s not even the beers – it is being able to socialise.”

Neil is not only missing the pubs but missing the tourism period as well. 

“I work on the mackerel boats, and with lockdown, I have lost a lot of money with there are no tourists. 

“A lot of them pay to come on the boats with me and catch mackerel that I then give to the local pubs and restaurants.

“We need to get everything under control soon, summertime is coming and it’s going to affect a lot of businesses if we do not open,” said Neil. 

Only 23 people have tested positive in Pembrokeshire since the 13th of March, according to the GOV website

It is below average, compared to the UK average. 

Pembrokeshire R rate is only 18.3 per 100K residents now compared to June last year, when the rate was 262.3. 

What do you think?