A PUB in Fordingbridge has announced that it will close for four days during the Christmas holiday period after an “emotionally stressful” summer.

The George pub in Bridge Street, Fordingbridge, will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day as well as December 27 and 28.

Owner Caroline Rylance said: “Hospitality has always been a hard job, but this year it has been on another level. Our staff have been through so much and worked so incredibly hard. We think that they deserve to spend Christmas with their families.

“Looking toward winter, with hospitality being the worst it’s been in years, I just felt that it would be a fitting thank you our staff who all stayed with us after we reopened.

“Reopening last summer was emotionally stressful having to deal with the restrictions, changing rules and regulations. The staff are really happy to be given Christmas off and it means they can enjoy that time without having to think about work.”

Bournemouth Echo: The George pub in Fordingbridge. Picture: Caroline RoylanceThe George pub in Fordingbridge. Picture: Caroline Roylance

The George was closed for five months around winter in 2020 and did not reopen in December when other pubs did as Caroline believed that the government would return to previous restrictions. She added: “I’m so glad we didn’t reopen for those two weeks in December 2020 because it would have bankrupted us.”

Customers were quick to comment their support for the decision on social media. One user said: “Don't blame you, you all deserve a break.”

Another said: “Brilliant idea. Wish other pubs would do the same so that staff can be with their families.”

Despite the closure being warmly received by some, Caroline said that other customers were not pleased by the decision.

She said: “Even after restrictions were lifted, we have continued to maintain social distancing and masks. The odd customer will ask why we’re doing that and some have been annoyed that we won’t be open at Christmas but our staff need time off.

“But I’d say 99 per cent of people have been very supportive.”

Caroline added that on the average Christmas Day, the pub serves approximately 80 people.

The pub currently operates for five days a week, Wednesday to Sunday, which will remain in place after the Christmas period.

Caroline will celebrate her eighth anniversary as owner this December.