A POPULAR cafe has closed forever after trading for 28 years as another business falls victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rozz Hancox, who set up the music-themed Cafe Concerto in York with her husband Ian, says that after nine months without cafe income and with an indefinite period of ongoing restrictions, she had had no choice but to close it, with the company, Music House 21 Ltd, voluntarily liquidated.

"Lockdown and social distancing rules with further lockdown looming meant it was looking impossible to re-open until at least next spring," she said.

"We are so small and narrow that safe social distancing would have been impossible and it would have been financially unviable to operate at reduced capacity."

She said that she and her husband had loved being a part of York's vibrant city centre scene for many years but revealed that Ian had tragically died suddenly in a cycle accident in the city’s Knavesmire woods last summer, which was devastating for the family.

"We will treasure all the special memories working with our family at Cafe Concerto - our three children all worked with us part time during their education," she said.

"We were lucky enough to have known hundreds of fantastic customers at Cafe Concerto over the years - many coming throughout the 28 years."

She said some customers even had their had first dates at the cafe, and got engaged there and then celebrated anniversaries there afterwards.

"We know, from the many messages, that they will hold special memories of the cafe close to their hearts in the future and we wish them well," she said.

"I would like to pay tribute to the exceptional team of amazing people who have been a part of our team over the years - many have already secured new jobs.

"Some team members were with us for 20 years or more and we are particularly grateful to them.

"We are also proud to have helped so many young people learn valuable future work skills over the years. Also our suppliers have been brilliant in supporting us during hard times."

She said she would continue to operate the 'Music House Apartment' on the premises, a two-bedroom holiday apartment overlooking York Minster, via Airbnb.

"We hope everyone will raise a glass to all the happy memories created over the years and look back positively at a place that was a just little bit special!" she added.