Plans for New Year’s celebrations have been badly affected even though England has been spared the restrictions imposed on hospitality in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the forthcoming New Year period, according to an Oswestry landlord.

Duncan Borrowman, the owner of The Bailey Head, Duncan Borrowman, spoke after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on December 27 there would be no closures or further restrictions on hospitality in England over the New Year period.

It puts England out of step with Wales and Scotland, where new restrictions have been brought in ahead of the annual celebrations.

Mr Borrowman described the situation faced by his business as “uncertain”.

He said the pub has stuck with the rule that people should wear masks when moving about the pub, and seating regulations, but added it limited their capacity to 50 people rather than the 100 they would usually have.

The uncertainty over what the Prime Minister was going to announce affected them when it came to the issue of ordering the right amount of stock.

Mr Borrowmen said: “We had to hold back on ordering anything because of the indecisiveness over whether we’d be open for New Year or not. So yesterday was a frantic ordering of supplies to see us through to New Year’s night.

“Suppliers have held back on getting too much stock in because they weren’t sure what was going to happen. No one wants to be caught like they were in previous lockdown of having a load of stock in and being shut.

“It would have been far better if there had been a decisive one-way announcement before Christmas and most of the suppliers closed for Christmas than waiting on a bank holiday between Christmas and New Year to tell us all what was happening. Makes supplies planning, staff planning and everything an absolute nightmare.”

Before March 2020, Mr Borrowman said the pub was always full on New Year’s Eve.

The uncertainty caused to New Year’s Eve planning has come after a relatively quiet time before Christmas Eve. He said: “The few days up to Christmas Eve and the week before Christmas and New Year is pretty busy but it is a lot quieter than usual. Yesterday we were expecting it to be a very busy day and it wasn’t. The same for Boxing Day.”

Christmas and New Year business is important due to January being a quiet month for business.

“Christmas and New Year you’re banking money to get you through January and even February before the weather starts getting better and people start coming out again. It’s very much squirreling, putting everything away to carry you through the quieter periods.”