A provocative pub owner has started selling meals for a penny so he can stay open thanks to Lancashire’s level 3 anti-Covid lockdown rules.
Government restrictions mean all pubs and bars must close in areas designated as having a “very high” Covid-19 infection rate, unless they are serving food.
Andy MacDonald, owner of Ships and Giggles pub in Preston, served free chicken and fries on weekends, after the county was put under the tightest restrictions on Saturday morning.
But the heads of local councils intervened on Tuesday, prompting the 36-year-old’s new initiative to offer meals for a dime.
Andy MacDonald, owner of Ships and Giggles, attempted to serve free food with drinks when Preston went into lockdown last week – after council intervention, the pub owner is offering meals for just a dime.
He said, “You can pay whatever you want if it’s more than a dime.
“If you’ve been financially affected pay a dime, if not pay a little more.
“And our meals are now improved, and by this weekend we will have an even greater amount of food available.
“We will also be holding your table for two hours to control whoever wants to drink alcohol.
Today, he promoted a Sunday burger night, asking customers to “pay a dime each per substantial burger meal.” It is NOT a penny per table.
Furious at the local lockdown, Mr MacDonald posted his free lunch on social media last week, writing: ‘There are no catches. I can no longer be sorry to listen to the government. I have nothing more to lose now.
“Please do us the honor of continuing to support Ships and Giggles, buy drinks and keep ships afloat and staff at work.
Mr MacDonald denies serving free food to entice people to buy alcohol, saying people ‘were struggling during this pandemic’
What’s on the Ships and Giggles 1p menu?
- Chicken wings and fries
- Burger and fries
- Chips and onion rings
The Preston City Council website states that meals must be purchased by the customer on site and when purchasing the meal the customer can also purchase alcohol.
When approached by MailOnline, the council said it would not comment on specific premises.
In a message posted to social media, a council spokesperson said: “Firm restrictions have been put in place, regarding pubs, bars and restaurants, such as:” Alcohol can only be served in the part of a main meal “,” the meal must be purchased by the customer “. “
But MacDonald says the government’s directions are “muddled,” adding that he had “lost the plot” and could cost him and his staff their livelihoods.
The pub owner was furious after the local council intervened in his free food program, saying, “When we put in the free meals so many people told us how grateful they were because people are struggling during this. pandemic.
“Many have expressed how grateful they are and we were happy to do so because we understand, we are trying to survive too.
“But when we were told we couldn’t do this, it was a breaking point for me.
After Preston’s council intervened, Mr. MacDonald offers customers to pay whatever they want, as long as it’s at least a dime
The owner, also known as Andy Mac, began offering free chicken and fries while Preston was on lockdown, saying lockout guidelines were ‘muddled’ and putting jobs at risk.
“I offer a free meal to people who don’t have much – and we’ve been told we can’t do it. It is an absolute shame.
“We’ve done so much to make sure we can operate during Covid, and now we’re being told we have to shut down again. It’s ridiculous.
“We fight to stay alive, we fight for our customers and for our people who all deserve better.
Mr MacDonald said he received a phone call from the council’s environmental health team on Tuesday.
He said, “The first thing he said was ‘you provide free food so people can buy alcohol’.
“I asked him to repeat it and made it clear how wrong he was.
“I had to tell him over and over how dare he try to tell me what I’m doing when I’m not, then wait until 5pm when I’m about to open my doors for me. ‘call and talk to me when I have a restaurant and bar to open scaring me and my staff.
The Scottish-born owner said he and staff were scared after receiving a call from a Preston Council employee earlier this week.
The Scottish-born owner added: ‘I am doing everything in my power to keep my business afloat and in the safest way possible.
“What we do at Ships and Giggles is try to shed some light during these times of mental and financial gloom.
“Like many others, I suffered extremely mentally, but this week I was happy with a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
“I don’t try to offend anyone and I don’t do anything for the wrong reasons.
“Over the past few years I have had a great relationship with consulting and licensing, and I really hope they will work with me to help me stay open, keep my whole team at work and helping the public to enjoy socializing in the safest way possible.
Businesses in areas with Level 3 lockdowns are eligible for government support, but MacDonald says he’s doing “everything in his power” to keep Ships and Giggles afloat
Councilor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation, told MailOnline: “We understand and are aware that the changes to the hospitality industry under the Level 3 restrictions are difficult for many businesses.
“Although we can understand the difficulty this poses and that innovative solutions are being developed, we must all work within the regulations set by the government.
Under current guidelines, a reasonable amount of alcohol can be purchased to accompany a meal – a meal that should be served at the table, as a purchased main meal.
Chicken and fries platters will still be available, but Ships and Giggles is hoping to serve more food, starting with a burger night on Sunday.
“The restrictions prevent buying and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol with this meal, or long after the food has been consumed.
“We are currently updating our website with the full criteria as indicated by the government.
“Our Environmental Health team, together with Lancashire Constabulary, visit Preston premises at regular intervals to verify compliance with Covid safety standards. We will continue this work to ensure that regulatory standards are met.
“We would much prefer to support and work with companies, but where appropriate we will not hesitate to take a robust approach.