THE OWNER of a fire-hit Penarth marina restaurant says he may have to start taking deposits after the business was financially hit by numerous no-shows – including a party of 10 (split between two tables) who didn’t turn up after booking.

It is another blow to The Deck which suffered a huge fire and had its roof blown off by Storm Francis in the space of a week in August.

A second lockdown has since followed, and the number of people arriving at the jetty bar to the side of the premises has diminished.

“We were doing well when the jetty bar got back up and running and customers have generally been very supportive,” said Philip Lay.

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“Then the lockdown and bad weather hit and it’s been like turning the tap off. The 10pm curfew hasn’t impacted us greatly because we close at 10.30pm, but it has changed people’s behaviours.

“We haven’t had as many dog walkers or cyclists. I’d just like to say we’re still here and we still need your support.”

Mr Lay says one of the major problems has been an increase in people booking tables and not turning up.

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“We had two groups book tables and they didn’t come. It hit us hard because we can only get 30 people in here.

“I might have to start taking deposits. I don’t think people are being malicious, I just don’t think people realise the damage it does.”

The main premises, which opened on August 7 but has been closed since the fire, is likely to be back open before Christmas, with a hopeful aim of the back end of November.

Mr Lay added. “The temporary roof means we can get underneath in the dry and strip everything down to steel and concrete.

Penarth Times: Philip Lay with his Green Egg BarbecuePhilip Lay with his Green Egg Barbecue

“There really is nothing left in there now, but it’s dry and we’re almost ready to go back in and start rebuilding.

“We are hoping to start planning for Christmas but we’ll certainly be keeping the Jetty Bar open through winter because restrictions on indoor hospitality will remain in place for a long time.

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“I hope the jetty can be our secret weapon. We’ve brought in a big Green Egg Barbecue which the chefs have tried out some different things on. We had a steak and lobster night recently.

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“I think it can be a nice place for people to come and have a Christmas office party.”
On the future of the hospitality industry in the Vale, he added: “Jobs will be lost if things get much tougher and it’s important the restrictions don’t go further if at all possible.

“The curfew changed people’s behaviour and the constant changes adds to the confusion – we’ve seen the impact of that.

“We have to get a balance between managing Covid and managing the economy.”