THE owners of an Ayr restaurant forced to close its doors due to the latest coronavirus measures feel like they are ‘back in a hole’ after bouncing back from lockdown.

The Fox and Willow had to shut for 16 days, along with all other pubs and restaurants across Ayrshire, in a bid to bring down the rising cases of COVID-19.

Ayr Advertiser:

The Carrick Road venue is owned by married couple Allan, 42, and Lauren, 28, who were left “gutted and heartbroken” by the news.

Nicola Sturgeon announced the new restrictions on Wednesday, October 7 with the shutdown coming into effect last Friday. It will be reviewed on October 16.

Lauren told the Advertiser: “Hearing the announcement was a head in your hands moment.

“You’ve been in one hole in March, you panic and worry but we got through that. We kept ourselves going.

“The last few months have been the best it’s ever been. We got ourselves back on our feet and now we are back in this hole again.”

The couple who have had the business for three years say they have been left frustrated by the measures.

They insist they would have been able to keep going without alcohol which has “never been an issue”.

Lauren said: “We respect the decision that has been made, it’s our First Minister she is protecting the country, that’s all she can do.

“But we don’t understand it. It has posed more questions for us than answers. We support every single hospitality venue in Ayr, but why can a café who is licensed to sell alcohol be able to open.

Ayr Advertiser:

“Because we are a restaurant we can’t open. We are genuinely trying to find answers, but we are so confused.”

“The 10pm curfew wasn’t hitting us hard. Our busy time is dinner. People don’t really come here to drink, it’s for families or a couple who maybe have one bottle of wine or a couple of drinks.”

Allan and Lauren both fear that the initial 16 days could be extended and are desperate to get things going again ahead of the busy festive period.

Lauren said: “We are worried this could be longer.

“We are going to do everything we can, we are not scared. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is to try new things and we have kept engaged with our customers through social media.

“But it’s a fight for survival now.

“This is our baby, the bills don’t stop, the overheads don’t stop.

“We are just a small company and we’ve got two kids – this is our livelihood too.”

The defiant owners have been overwhelmed with the support shown by their customers and staff through the pandemic, and hope to be able to see them again soon.

Lauren added: “It’s been incredible, it’s a full Fox family.“People I don’t even know are offering their support. We’ve had phone calls from customers and our staff have just been amazing.

“That’s the one thing that is keeping us going right now, our staff team and the customers. There’s no point in sulking about it.”