Pubs and restaurants prepare for super DUPER Saturday

Photo shows: Sam Edwards and Jak Doggett at Upton Firehouse Burford
The Firehouse Burford Sam Edwards and Jak Doggett.[2]

Landlords and business owners across the region are getting ready to roll open their doors following the welcome news that pubs and restaurants are among the businesses are being allowed to reopen in England from July 4 after a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing restrictions.

As Eva Peron didn’t quite say in the hit song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the 1970s musical Evita:

“It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange
As we try explain the new rules
But we still need your custom after what Covid’s done ….”
Our business has got even cleaner
The truth is we need revenue
All through our closed days
Our dull existence
We kept our promise
But keep your distance ….

The two-metre recommendation will be reduced to at least one metre, but customers are still urged to  keep two metres apart where they can.

Swan Swinbrook, Archie Orr Ewing, chef Hubert Kosmola and Steve Cook [2]The Swan at Swinbrook was celebrating before the lockdown, having been named Dining Pub of the Year by The Good Pub Guide. Located on the Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire border has been preparing its garden and interior tables with a two metre distance but welcomed the news.

Manager, Stephen Pitt, said: “We have kept a keen eye on all the detail and legislation and welcome the change in social distancing, At the end of the day we want our room residents, drinkers and diners to be and feel safe.

“We have put a new bar in the garden, which our resident bantams have enjoyed hiding in, to encourage more alfresco dining. It also makes it easier for us to supply table service for the extra 60 safe distance covers in this area.”

Swindon-based Arkell’s Brewery owns nearly 100 pubs across the region, and has been supporting its landlords. Managing Director, George Arkell said “We are relieved that the Prime Minister has officially announced the re-opening of pubs on July 4.  This long awaited news means that with restrictions, we can start to serve the community again. We are still awaiting the exact guidelines, but with the two-metre rule being relaxed in favour of a ‘one-metre-plus’ rule, we are really looking forward to getting back to business.”

National Inn of the Year, The Kings Head in Bledington, is owned and run by Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing, who echo Stevens’ comments. “It is a question of space and safety,” said Archie, who has been in charge of the famous country pub for 20 years. “We have made important changes to the pub, its service and our dining areas to look after everyone. 

“We are fortunate here in the Cotswolds that a lot of the pubs, like us, have so much space. At the front of our pub sits the village green.”

The Upton Firehouse, a family barbeque and grill restaurant, situated near Burford, plans to reopen on July 8 but with a new format, due to the new regulations. Gone is the self service carvery buffet style due to social distancing and the single use tongs. In comes a set menu and new opening times.

We have, like so many, think about how we can adapt,” said Firehouse business owner Jak Doggett. “We have fitted new automatic hand sanitizer dispensers on every door and we are quite lucky in the fact we have such a large restaurant so social distancing is possible, we have however a large outdoor seating area which we will be using when there weather is good.”

Turmeric Gold, CoventryAs the award-winning Turmeric Gold restaurant gets ready to open its doors in Coventry proprietor Jay Alam says that gaining customer confidence is the next big step. Over the period of lockdown Jay and his team have all completed several Covid-19 prevention courses in a bid to learn best practice for restaurants in the current climate.

The famous Gloucester Services, on the M5 which had already reopened its farm shops and quick kitchens, is preparing to restart its farm shop counters and kitchens.

THE owners of a boutique glamping retreat in Warwickshire say they hope a ‘surge in ‘staycationers’ will help them bounce back from a three-month lockdown that is forecast to have cost the business more than £100k.

Winchcombe Farm HolidaysJo Carroll and Steve Taylor are now ready to welcome back guests to Winchcombe Farm Holidays in Tyso after taking comprehensive steps to make their holiday homes COVID-Secure.

UKHospitality represents the broad hospitality sector – covering everything from bars, coffee shops, contract catering, hotels, nightclubs, visitor attractions and other leisure venues.

Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: ““Reducing the minimum distance will be a huge help to hospitality. The two-metre rule would have capped capacity for most venues at around 30 per cent. That would have been totally unviable for most businesses and would have risked even more jobs and the futures of venues. Reduction to one-metre should see most venues able to trade at around 70 per cent of capacity, which could be the difference between failure and staying alive to see out the remainder of the crisis, particularly with added support.”