THE manager of The Oak at Staplow, Chris Howell, said that seeing shops still open in Ledbury was a strange experience, given that pubs are closed under Tier 3 restrictions, including his own.

But the Oak, off the Bromyard Road, reached a busy high, just before the county moved from Tier 2 restrictions to Tier 3.

Mr Howells said the pub was full on December 30 "and ran out out of our lagers, ciders and IPA".

But with the Tier 3 restrictions coming in, the pub decided to sell off its barrels of real ale "rather than throw it away", and these ales included Bathams, Wye Valley Brewery and Ledbury Ales.

Concerning his staff, Mr Howell said: "All out staff are on furlough at 80 per cent so at least they can mange for however much longer we have to wait until we re-open; they have been tremendous throughout this crisis.

"Personally I think that we should never have entered Tier 1 as that brought unwanted attention and visitors, so we went from tier 1 to 3 in 6 days! However we remain positive and this hopefully will be our last lockdown and applaud the news that both vaccines will be operating this week."

He added: "I must admit it was strange going into Ledbury this morning to see all of the shops open apart from the pubs, restaurants and cafes!"