An owner spoke of his devastation after a car entered his pub a few hours before it reopened, as the lockout restrictions were relaxed.
Ray Perkins was to welcome 200 guests throughout the “Super Saturday” at the Swan Inn, Little Chart, Ashford, Kent.
The crash, around 2 a.m. Saturday, broke a large hole in the side of the 15th-century building, now surrounded by rubble.
Kent police said three 17-year-old boys were slightly injured, one of whom was arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving and taking a vehicle without consent.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes opened their doors this morning after more than three months of closure, with industry leaders warning that many could fall.
The swan said on his Facebook page, “So at 2 a.m. the beautiful swan was destroyed.
“Angry, devastated does not describe him! Unable to enter because the structure is now unhealthy. ”
But in a later Facebook post, pub staff said they hoped to open at noon today, adding, “The show must go on. “
Owner Ray Perkins said he was sleeping over the pub when the accident happened – and that he woke up suddenly.
“We were asleep when the car entered the side of the pub. It was 2 am, “he told Kent Online.
“We were not injured, but with all the dust, the smoke detectors went off. It was a shock. We are very upset; the pub has a huge gaping hole.
“We are now trying to determine if we can still open. We had reserved 200 people to come to the garden today.
“We have a large garden, with marquees installed, so I hope people can still go there and we can deliver drinks.
“We are awaiting the visit of the structural engineers to inform us. ”
A Kent police spokesperson told Standard: “Kent police were called at 2:24 a.m. on July 4, 2020 to report a car collision with The Street pub, Little Chart, Ashford.
“Officers were present with the ambulance service from the southeast coast and the Kent fire and rescue service.
“Three 17-year-old boys, who were inside the vehicle, were taken to a local hospital for treatment for minor injuries before being released.
“One of these teenagers was arrested on suspicion of driving without consent and driving while intoxicated. He is still in pre-trial detention. ”
In February 2017, a woman was taken to the hospital with head injuries after a pickup truck hit the same pub wall – then under another owner.
The British Beer and Pub Association warned on Friday that 18,000 pubs – 40% of the total – could be lost by the end of this year if “reasonable” trade does not resume immediately.