Avon Valley Inn scraps through COVID-19 thanks to the support of its regulars

Avon Valley Inn manager, Adam Berry is positive about the future, post-COVID. Photo Anne Keen
Avon Valley Inn manager, Adam Berry is positive about the future, post-COVID. Photo Anne Keen

Trying to find the positive during the forced COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was tricky for Gloucester's Avon Valley Inn which had no choice but to almost completely shut up shop.

But thanks to the support of its regulars, things are starting to look up.

According to pub manager, Adam Berry it was a bit of a struggle.

"We closed on March 23 but had the kitchen offering takeaway meals from Wednesday to Saturday and we ran a bottle shop," Adam explained. "It didn't go very well except for steak night; that was pretty good."

Some of the staff were able to get the Jobkeeper payments, but the ones who'd been working there less than 12 months weren't eligible. A couple of them did a bit of light maintenance work, like painting and cleaning, but otherwise it was pretty quiet about the place.

Adam even ended up heading down south to help work at the owner's caravan parks, doing a bit of renovation work to keep him busy during the closure.

But it's not all doom and gloom, and the business kept going.

"Our regulars really looked after us. Big time," Adam said.

Our regulars really looked after us. Big time.

Adam Berry

Since they've been able to reopen, there have been a few changes and it's not just the addition of the COVID-19 safety signs. There is a new chef in The Little Avon Bistro and new owners, with plans to spruce the place up a little.

New owners mean the Jobkeeper payment ceases, but thankfully, the restrictions keep easing and the pub is able to have more customers.

"All the staff are back and it's been pretty good," Adam said.

It's been a bit tricky to navigate the rules given the size of the rooms in the traditional style pub, only allowing 13 people in the front bar, 29 in the back bar and 19 in the function room at one stage, but Adam and his team are making it work.

The customers are understanding and are following the protocols, which is good considering the Gloucester police are making regular visits.

"The police come by everyday to check and they've been really good," Adam said.

And now it's onto the new normal in the affectionately known "Top Pub", where there has been a flip in the flow of business.

"It's completely changed. We used to be busy at dinner and now it's busy at lunch," he smiled.