A 1,200-year-old tavern in the U.K. that claims to be England's oldest pub says it is closing its doors due to financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St. Albans — located just north of London — wrote in a Facebook post on Friday that the pub "has gone into administration" — an action comparable to declaring bankruptcy in the U.S.
Pub owners said in their statement that the establishment was already struggling with "escalating business rates and taxations" prior to the pandemic, which led to "tight profit margins." They said the arrival of the pandemic was a death knell for the business.
"However the Covid-19 pandemic was devastating and our already tight profit margins gave us no safety net. This resulted in us being unable to meet our financial obligations as they were due, creating periods of great uncertainty and stress for all who worked for, and with, the pub," the pub said in a statement.
Owners gave thanks to the bar's staff and its regulars in closing their statement.
"I would like to thank my loyal staff, all the visitors to the pub, particularly the regulars, but also those from all over the world, the suppliers, the bands and musicians who have played here, the St Albans community and my friends and my family, for all their love and support for the last ten years," they wrote.
According to its website, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks traces its history back to 793, and the current structure was built in the 11th Century. The pub takes its name from the cock fights the bar hosted in the 19th and 20th centuries. The bar briefly went by "The Fisherman" after England banned cock fighting in the mid-1800s but resumed using its longtime moniker for good in 1872.
CNN reports that even before the pandemic, the British have taken to drinking in their homes instead of congregating in pubs. Around 25% of the countries pubs — about 11,000 in total — closed in the U.K. between 2008 and 2018.