The PA Hotel has built a wall to help keep a safe distance between diners. Manager Peter Coultas is appealing for diners to come out. They have lost 90% of business this week. Picture: Cordell Richardson
The PA Hotel has built a wall to help keep a safe distance between diners. Manager Peter Coultas is appealing for diners to come out. They have lost 90% of business this week. Picture: Cordell Richardson

‘We’re building a wall’: Pubs desperate plea for patrons

IT'S USUALLY one of Ipswich's most popular restaurants and bars, teeming with diners and drinkers of all ages.

This week, the PA Hotel was almost completely deserted.

Under no illusions as to the flow-on effect of the coronavirus, venue manager Peter Coultas said he was expecting the worst this week, but he has issued a plea for people to support local hotels as long as they are not in quarantine and in good health.

The PA has introduced a range of precautionary measures which Mr Coultas believes will help stop the spread of the virus.

"Business has died this week," he said.

"It is down 90 per cent since Monday, and I reckon on Wednesday it was down 95 per cent.

"I think people are still in a state of shock with regards to what all this means, and I can only hope things slowly start to calm down as people realise that the sun still rises and sets."

The Booval venue, which contains two restaurants, a gaming area and a beer bar, has increased the distance between tables and removed cutlery from empty tables as an added safety measure.

Every second poker machine is switched off in the gaming area, and a wall is being built to separate its two restaurants.

All large pre-booked events have been cancelled, and extra cleaning regimes are in place.

"This is something none of us have been through before," Mr Coultas said.

"For our situation we saw it coming last Friday, and we are luckier than most in that we have a large seating capacity, which gives us space to spread people out.

"Meals are being served 10am-9pm so people can when they feel comfortable.

"For businesses like our it is vital for people to keep coming out.

"Anything we can do to make people feel comfortable we will bend over backwards."