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‘It’s good but scary’ - Pubs to reopen across Suffolk from July 4

PUBLISHED: 18:30 23 June 2020

Pubs across Suffolk have been told they can open from July 4 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson  Picture: Getty Images

Pubs across Suffolk have been told they can open from July 4 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson Picture: Getty Images

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Pubs across Suffolk have been told they can open from next weekend to the delight of publicans across the county.

Debbie McCallum, landlady of The Bell in Kesgrave. Photo: Colin ShawDebbie McCallum, landlady of The Bell in Kesgrave. Photo: Colin Shaw

Boris Johnson today addressed the House of Commons announcing a new range of relaxed lock down measures allowing pubs, bars and restaurants to reopen alongside a number of other establishments.

He also relaxed social distancing measures asking the public to stay “1m plus” away from others.

Suffolk’s hospitality industry has responded with cautious optimism to today’s news expressing their excitement while remaining realistic in front of the challenges ahead.

Debbie McCallum, who runs The Bell Pub with her husband said pubs reopening was “good but scary”.

MORE: What changes from July 4?

She said: “The good news is that we can open. We’ve been anticipating July 4 as our opening date and we will be opening out doors and whole heartedly welcoming our customers back.

“The scary part is making sure it works.

“We’ve spent 20 years here. We’ve seen everything so we are not going to let a virus put us down.

“On a normal night we could be 30% down on customers and on busy nights maybe 50%.

MORE: Pubs and restaurants can reopen as 2m rule relaxed

“We will do everything we can do to make it a safe experience for our customers, but also an enjoyable one.”

Mrs McCullum, who is also a district councillor, added that the pub will lose all of its “vertical drinkers” - those that stand at the bar or while watching sport.

Meanwhile, bigger chains have praised the decision to relax the 2m social distancing rule.

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Nick Mackenzie, Greene King CEO said: “It is great that we finally have the news we’ve all been waiting for a confirmed opening date for pubs and a change to social distancing from two metres to one.

“It is a welcome relief for pub operators, our team members who want to get back to work and of course our customers who have been missing their local pub.

“We now urgently need the detailed government guidelines so that we can check we have the correct measures in place to reopen safely for our team members and customers.”

Adnams said: “

However, other pubs have said they may struggle, even with the change in social distancing rules.

Geoff Page, who runs The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds, one of the smallest pubs in the country said that his premises is so small he would only be able to get five people in while social distancing.

He said: “It is good news, and it’s positive news for everybody. But we’re affected adversely because of the size of the pub.

“I can think of a handful of pubs in Bury who will really benefit from the developments today. 
“We’re just not one of them just because we are so small.

“Sadly we can’t have it both ways, we can’t enjoy the uniqueness of the pub and then we have an awful crisis which affects us because of that uniqueness.”

Mr Page said he is in talks with West Suffolk Council about whether his pub could serve customers on the pavement outside.

“We are working to develop the ability of serving or have people drink outside and that’s the route that we need to go down,” he said.


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