It’s Super Saturday! Pubs, restaurants and more set to re-open today
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Lockdown restrictions have eased further today in what commentators are calling “Super Saturday” - with large parts of the hospitality industry opening up to the public for the first time in months.
Despite the excitement at venues reopening, there have been warnings from officials not to ruin the work done to control the virus during the months of lockdown.
East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard, particularly for people working in hospitality and related sectors, and reopening in a safe manner is a step towards economic recovery.
“My message once again is absolutely clear. Please enjoy yourselves, but don’t blow it.”
The chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, Nick Hulme, also called on those heading out and about to take care, adding that the situation remained delicate.
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Mr Hulme said: “It’s really important to remember the sacrifices we’ve made, remember how difficult that’s been.
“Have that in the back of your mind, because unless we get this right in terms of releasing lockdown, we’re going to be back there in a matter of weeks, as we’ve seen in parts of the country where lockdown has been reintroduced.”
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Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones, of Suffolk Constabulary, said he hoped that the public would continue to follow vital safety advice.
“Whilst we of course want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves in pubs and bars, we must remember that coronavirus is still a serious risk to health,” he said.
“As such, people need to continue to follow the government’s guidance to reduce the transmission of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following the instructions of pub and bar staff.
“As a county so far you have done a brilliant job in acting responsibly, so the message remains to Stick with it Suffolk.”
Barbers and hairdressers are set to be some of the most popular businesses this weekend, as they open for the first time in months to tackle a bumper crop of “lockdown haircuts”.
SIR & Co barbers in Aldeburgh is hoping to be so busy that the queues out the door will rival the famous fish and chip shop lines in the town, as they look to cut hair and raise money for charity.
Manager of SIR & Co, Tris Curling, said: “We will be offering our normal high-quality service. Although the new normal is different, we will direct you to ensure the barber shop runs smoothly.
“Come and support us to create a massive queue. Let’s do this.”
Pubs and restaurants re-opening their doors will also be a welcome sight to many, as they look to serve up drinks for the first time since March.
Rigorous hand washing and cleaning will be particular priorities as public houses look to open safely.
Social distancing will also feature prominently, with some pubs extending their gardens to ensure customers can be welcomed back.
Many will also be encouraging customers to go online to access menus and even order.
The Anchor Inn, in Nayland, has launched outdoor dining pods to help reassure customers.
“They will allow people to shield relatively well, especially those who are high risk or are worried about eating at a restaurant,” said operations manager Ross Parrock.
However, not all re-opening businesses expect to be quite so busy.
Weddings are among the other activities set to be permitted from today, but strict regulations mean that only 30 guests are able to attend with no music or readings permitted.
“It’s a damp squib,” said Ian Evans, owner of Copdock Hall.
“Pubs and hairdressers have had some guidance. We just need some kind of roadmap out of this.”
Mr Evans said it was particularly important, as the industry relied on more than just venues - with DJs and cake makers among those who were also set to lose out during this uncertainty.
Milsoms, Kesgrave Hall has said that 95% of its booked weddings have already been moved to next year.
“We had never had more bookings than this year,” said manager Sarah Oliver.
“The industry was expecting it to be the biggest ever.
“Everyone wanted to get married in 2020.
“They wanted to have that date. It’s been heartbreaking.”