Cotswold hospitality welcomes the return of indoor dining

Upton Firehouse[2]

Hospitality bosses have cautiously welcomed the indoor reopening for pubs, restaurants and cafes.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that they, along with hotels and B&B’s will be able to open indoor areas from Monday May 17.

He said they will be able to reopen these areas in line with the original road map out of lockdown after case numbers continued to decline in recent weeks.

Groups of up to six people or two households will be able to wine and dine inside venues in the third road map phase, with restrictions set to be relaxed completely from June 21.

Six in 10 venues that were not able to reopen over recent weeks due to a lack of outdoor space, The Upton Firehouse, near Burford, run by chef duo, Sam Edwards and Jak Doggett took all of the benches from inside the restaurant outside to cope with the outdoor dining rules but are delighted to be moving back inside. “Being inside the Firehouse is part of the experience,” Sam explained. “Seeing the large grill and wood fired oven in front of you is part of the theatre of dining here.

“While we have introduced a barbeque night on Fridays it can and has been at times too cold in April and May to expect people to sit outside. We are also open for breakfast Wednesday to Sunday and although we have enjoyed a strong trade we know we could expect more if allowed back inside, even with social distancing The Firehouse is a large space.”

Téatro in Cirencester will become part of Ingleside Hotel that is due to open to the public by the end of the month. The popular restaurant has moved outside for the time being but internal dining is part of its change in direction. Manager Ryan Walters said: “We will be open for brunch as of 28 May at the weekends as well as be catering for the guests of the hotel so being allowed to serve inside is essential. We will of course be keeping up our high standards in social distancing and keeping to government guidance.”

From Monday, customers will also be required to order, eat and drink while seated with table service, although there will be no curfew or ‘substantial meal’ restrictions. Jordan Pelly of the Bathurst Arms said: “The ‘substantial meal’, ‘the scotch egg’ debacle was not good for the industry or the customer; it caused a lot of confusion. To be open again inside means we can finally reopen our bed and breakfast rooms and seat people comfortably in our restaurant or bar. It has been great to have the garden and our circus tipi open and see so many people after being closed for so long.”

Customers will also then be able to meet in groups of up to 30 in outdoor areas such as beer gardens, which have been open since April 12 with the rule of six in place. The wet Bank Holiday meant that for café’s such as Jack’s in Cirencester, The Old Prison in Northleach and The Cotswold Gateway on the Cerney Lakes they could not welcome visitors, walkers and families who would ordinarily been out in their droves. “Whilst each of our venues have been fortunate to operate a takeaway menu during lockdown and subsequently offer outdoor dining since April 12, we are of course delighted that from Monday we can open our doors and welcome customers from two households to sit together inside” states Rob Goves, a director of The Relish Group

“It’s certainly a step in the right direction to enabling those who are less inclined to brave the colder British weather huddled under canopies in coats and blankets, to now enjoy the comfort and warmth of indoor spaces. Many of our venues have utilised the time during lockdown to refurbish or refresh interiors, menus have been updated with seasonal offers and websites have been revised. Inviting customers back in doors will give us the opportunity to share these changes, as well as allow them to experience the joy of once again enjoying our amazing menus and drinks offer”.