The owners of the Commonwealth Hotel and White Bull Tavern have been forced to let go at least 30 staff this week.
The owners of the Commonwealth Hotel and White Bull Tavern have been forced to let go at least 30 staff this week.

DEVASTATED: Roma pub forced to let go of ‘family’

NEVER in Ben Cannon’s life has he had to do anything as devastating as letting 30 staff go at once.

Earlier this week, that was his reality, after the National Assembly’s stringent social distancing rules closed pubs across the country.

Having owned the iconic Roma duo of the Commonwealth Hotel and the White Bull Tavern for a combined 14 years, Mr Cannon was forced to let 75 per cent of his staff go this week.

“It was an incredibly hard thing to do, I have never experienced something like that,” he said.

“Especially for a small town … we are trying to keep as many on as we can, but that’s only about seven now.

“I felt helpless, the staff were all just devastated. It’s no fault of their own, or ours, it’s just one of those things we can’t help.

“Nothing could prepare you for this type of situation.”

Among the staff he was forced to let go were two French backpackers who arrived last week.

“They were in tears on Monday when they were told, it was very emotional,” he said.

“We are letting them stay upstairs free of charge, and trying to help them where we can.

“That’s the same for all staff we let go … they are like our family. Hopefully when this thing turns around we will be able to put all our staff back on

Luckily for Mr Cannon, at this stage he can continue to operate his three bottle-shop businesses, including the drive thrus at the Commonwealth and White Bull, and the store in Westlands Plaza.

“We hope we can keep those bottle shops open for as long as we can,” he said.

Both the White Bull and Commonwealth are continuing to cook up delicious meals, available for pick up via the respective drive-thru or delivery.


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