ONE of Helensburgh’s busiest pubs has had to slash its capacity by a third on the weekends – and fears bigger costs of the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnny Rapallini, owner of The Clyde Bar, has been ordering less beer and giving staff and DJs fewer hours as a result of the illness’s feared spread.

And with live TV sport still to be paid for – even though most sport is shut down – the boss admits the situation at the West Clyde Street premises is “quite difficult.”

At the moment, people are advised to stay away from pubs – but establishments have not been ordered to close their doors.

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Mr Rapallini said: “We have reduced the capacity at weekends from 180 to 120, and have sanitisers for everybody who comes in.

“We are just doing what we can. The pub is completely sanitised and we have a deep clean arranged for next week.

“That will be done on a regular basis as long as we are open – but we don’t know if there is a shutdown around the corner.

“I’m not ordering a lot of beer, and if we run out, we run out. Business has gone down. We have diehard regulars coming in but we don’t get many tourists.

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“The problem with the reduced capacity is that there is a lot of congestion outside, with people waiting to come in.

“But over time they will start to learn that is what will happen in the future. If we are told to close, we will do that, but things are having a big impact now.

“We’ve had to reduce staff hours. A lot of people are part time and are being called in when I have a shift for them – sometimes I don’t have any for them.

“DJs are getting their hours cut and I am going to have to think about reducing stewarding. We are just trying to keep it going as best we can.”

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While Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a rescue package for UK businesses worth some £350bn on Tuesday, fears have also been voiced nationally that no government advice for pubs to close means that they cannot make an insurance claim.

And Mr Rapallini said: “If we close of our own accord then there is no insurance claim, so we have to be told by the government.

“We couldn’t claim insurance for everything, but it would help for wages. I also still have to pay BT Sport even though there is no sport taking place, and there are still brewery bills from last month.

“Some people say it’s going to be like this for a year – I don’t know how many pubs will survive that long if it happens.

“But I’ve also heard people say that if it is until the summer, then the virus cannot sustain the heat. It’s a worry right now.”

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