How are pubs gearing up for May 17 reopening?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Cheers! Pubs are preparing to reopen indoors for the first time this year, as coronavirus restrictions are eased - but are taking care to ensure customers stick to the rules.
Most pubs across Suffolk and north Essex have been trading outdoors since April 12 - but the latest stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown allows them to open inside, provided customers keep to the 'rule of six'.
That means most pubs cannot open to full capacity and means they have had to take care to ensure tables are spaced out, to allow for social distancing.
Only table service is allowed.
Owner of the Oakes Barn pub in Bury St Edmunds, Heather Warren - whose venue won West Suffolk Pub of the Year in the CAMRA 2020 awards - said there had been a staff induction day on Saturday to "go through all the new practices".
She added: "Everybody is ready to get back and we can accommodate 80 people inside.
"We have got measures in place and as long as customers adhere to them, we do not envisage any problems at all.
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"We have got guidelines in place and the staff have been updated."
Customers will still have to sign into the NHS track and trace or give their name and number to a member of staff.
Dan Lightfoot, owner of the Greyhound in Ipswich, said he is excited to be reopening up his pub - but is still looking forward to when people can just walk in and be served.
Mr Lightfoot added: "We've done the hard bit already by being open outside, which makes it fairly simple.
"We have sorted all the tables out and made sure they are all socially distanced.
"It is set up and ready to go inside and it is a relief to get inside especially with the forecasted weather for this weekend."
Stoke by Nayland resort has refurbished its three restaurants during the lockdown.
Stoke by Nayland commercial director Peter Osborne said “We’ve made good use of the lockdown to completely review our offerings and gear them to three very different styles of restaurants, all of which offer fantastic extended outdoor dining areas with comfortable seating, overhead heating, and glass screen protection from the wind.
"Our team of talented chefs have worked really hard to create exciting menus to suit all tastes – including an extensive new vegan menu - to ensure that we can place ourselves firmly on the dining venue map for both our local residents and guests from further afield.”