Mid Sussex pubs welcome announcement that they can serve customers indoors again
Pubs across Mid Sussex have welcomed the news that they can reopen for indoor service from Monday (May 17).
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement yesterday afternoon (May 10), revealing that cinemas, museums and indoor children’s play areas can open as well.
People in England will be able to meet indoors in groups of up to six people or as two households.
The date is the next milestone in England’s roadmap out of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“It’s what we expected and what we planned for,” said James Cuthbertson director of The Lockhart Tavern in The Broadway, Haywards Heath.
He told the Middy that he was ‘relieved’ but felt that the announcement lacked detail.
“They talk about social distancing but they’ve not given us specifics,” he said, adding that he was unsure of the distance people need to sit apart from each other.
James also said it would be difficult to check that everyone entering a pub was following the rules of who they could form a group with.
“I think they’ve probably put a little too much pressure on the licensee to manage that,” he said and urged customers to ‘play by the rules’.
But James said he was confident that pubs can be safe and that they are not a cause of Covid-19 spikes.
Chris Harris, general manager of The Oak Barn Bar and Restaurant, Burgess Hill, said: “We couldn’t have asked for much more with everything that’s going on at the moment.
“It’s back to a bit more normality for most people.”
Chris said he hopes this summer will make up for 2020 and that people can come to The Oak Barn from May 17 without worrying about bad weather.
But he said the pub will still take bookings for outside tables in case anyone is not comfortable sitting inside yet.
“I think every business at the minute is hoping that everyone still enjoys themselves and that everyone plays by the rules and plays sensibly so we can move forwards,” he said.
Lance Nuttall from The Woolpack in Howard Avenue, Burgess Hill, said: “I’m really pleased that life is coming back to some sort of normality.”
“I think we’ll be busy as I think there’s pent up demand,” he added.
Lance said the pub garden had already been busy and that the pub is looking forward to having a ‘honeymoon period’ of good business over the summer.
“We’re really looking forward to giving our pub back to the community,” he said.
Staff at The Bull in Ditchling are also looking forward to reopening.
General manager Molly Raferty said: “At The Bull we exist to host, entertain and provide a safe, happy place for people to share their day – to laugh, to celebrate, to drink great wine and beer.”
“These are not extraordinary things, this is normality,” she added.
“We have really missed just being normal.”
Molly also said she hopes to see the tables full this summer with everyone enjoying sharing time with loved ones.