Pubs prepare for outdoor service as coronavirus restrictions are lifted
The day that for so long always seemed over the horizon is finally just around the corner.
Floppy-locked Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to get back to the pub for a socially-distanced pint outdoors on Monday, even at the expense of a haircut.
The latest phase of the government’s roapmap out of coronavirus restrictions comes into force on Monday, meaning non-essential shops, libraries gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can all re-open after the latest lockdown.
It also means pubs can start serving customers outdoors.
Ben Jackson, co-owner of Oscars Inn on London Road, Newark, said: “We’re opening on Monday and converting the carpark to the rear into a beer garden with gazebos and tables.
“Last year I think we were able to accommodate around 100 people.
“We are taking bookings and even without advertising anything we’re getting a lot of people contacting us to ask if we’re going to be open.”
Ben said he thought the government had it right.
“I think after lockdown one, we went above and beyond with the safety measures,” he said. “We created a safe environment.
“We’re looking to limit the time people can spend at the pub because obviously we don’t want anyone getting drunk. So we are limiting it to 1½ hours per booking.
“Obviously there will be a bit of flexibility depending on how busy we are.
“People will need to book to come in as you’ll need a seat if you are to order. If you don’t have a seat you’re not coming in.
Ben said he was delighted re-opening day was approaching.
“I’m just looking forward to pulling pints again,” he said.
“But I feel it’s a crying shame for the pubs that can’t re-open.
“We’ve lost some cracking pubs in Newark and, I know they’re our competition, but we like going to miss some of these pubs, like the Fox And Crown.
Among the pubs re-opening are:
“Hopefully we can get back to normal as soon as possible and we don’t lose any more.”
Rob Sibcy, of The Castle and Falcon, also on London Road, said they would also be opening, in the beer garden for around 70 people.
“We are taking bookings using our website or people can reach us on our landline.
“I believe the pubs are pretty much the safest they have ever been at the moment,” Rob said: We have got more self-imposed restrictions than any other sector.
“I think we are an important part of the community and there’s a lot of people who are missing out because we are closed.
“Ultimately, we are safer than going to the supermarket with social distancing, table service and hand sanitiser located at every entrance and exit.”
Financially, he said it was imperative that they re-opened soon.
“My partner is actually on furlough at the moment from another job in the sector. She’s a kitchen manager at restaurant in the area,” Rob said.
“It’s been really tough. You don’t come into this to not open the doors.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that as of Monday, hairdressers, gyms, shops and beer gardens could re-open as step two of the roadmap.
At an Easter Monday briefing, Mr Johnson said the move was “fully justified by the data.”
“On Monday 12 I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but inreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips,” he said.
Among the other pubs opening their carparks or beer gardens in Newark on Monday are The Rutland Arms, on Barnbygate, Wheatsheaf, Slaughterhouse Lane, The Ram, on Castlegate, The Barge, on The Wharf, Swan & Salmon, off Castlegate, White Hart, off the Market Place, Old Post Office, Kirkgate, the Lord Ted, Farndon Road, and The Tawny Owl, Fernwood.