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Mitch Tonks positive about PM talks and reopening of rural businesses

22 June 2020 by

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has revealed he had a 'positive' conversation with Boris Johnson last week and feels confident that the government is listening.

Tonks, hotelier Robin Hutson and other rural suppliers spoke with the prime minister following a letter sent to Johnson back in May calling for support for rural businesses until 2021.

"It was a good hour-long conversation," said Tonks.

"It is difficult for any one person to understand hospitality with it being so diverse, and when we all fulfil different needs and play to different markets. We were specifically talking about rural businesses – and the pressures of being so reliant on the seasons."

The conversation, while confidential, touched on the repayment of loans for hospitality businesses, rents and how quickly the "rules of the game" would be confirmed.

The prime minster is expected to announce further plans for the hospitality industry tomorrow, including a possible reduction of the two-metre rule.

Tonks is anticipating the prime minister's announcement will confirm hospitality businesses can reopen on 4 July, saying: "People in hospitality are good at compliance already, with our EHO requirements and building regulations. If operators are allowed to be responsible, we will be good at it –we take care of people. We just need the outline on PPE and procedures."

Tonks intends to reopen Rockfish Plymouth on 4 July, with a refurbished Rockfish Brixham, which includes a fishmongery, and the rest of the Rockfish estate opening soon after. His new pop-up the Seahorse Al Mare will open on 6 July on the waterfront on Dartmouth Embankment, following a relaxation of the outside dining rules by the local council.

Mitch Tonks reveals how he made waves with his chain of Rockfish restaurants >>

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