Pubs reopened this weekend as Government allowed bars to serve customers but with Covid safety measures in place.
Nationally it’s been a mixed story with central London amassing tightly packed crowds in Soho as punters gathered to enjoy a pint on what’s been dubbed ‘Super Saturday.’ The Isle of Thanet News spoke to several publicans to see how their opening weekend has been so far.
Julian Newick owns The Lifeboat in Margate and The Chapel in Broadstairs. The former is located in the Old Town and usually attracts plenty of customers over the summer months.
Bar manager Sarah Mason was on the bar while Julian took to ‘front of house’ to ensure those who entered adhered to guidelines. He said: “It was ok, there was a steady number of people through the doors but it wasn’t as busy as usual – I’m not comfortable putting my staff at risk but wanted to put some money in their pocket. Most people were well behaved but I did have to lock the front door to stop some from just going straight to the bar. It’s difficult keeping to the measures – we were taking customer details but how do you know if they are in the same household/bubble. We’ll give it a week to see how it goes.
“We had our visors on which I bought from AllStyle in Birchington and I posted a photo of me and Sarah kitted up on Facebook- weirdly my brother, who lives in France, was doing exactly the same as he works as a butler there and shared his image below the thread!”
Lifeboat is open – Mon – Thurs from 5pm. Fri, Sat and Sun are usual hours. The Chapel is the same apart from Sundays which is only open in the evening.
Aram Rawf works at Shepherd Neame pub and restaurant, the Royal Albion Hotel and is also Thanet councillor for Beacon Road ward. He said: “It is a new experience for all our guests and staff – most people do follow the guidelines. It will take time for many guests to adapt to the new system but it’s for everyone’s safety. I think the real test will be on a sunny, busy day.”
Opening times – Mon – Fri – 08:00 – 21:00 (bar opens at 11am), Sat & Sun – 08:00 – 22:00 (bar opens at 11am)
Debbie Barnett runs The Racing Greyhound on Hereson Road with her husband and says trade was affected before the crisis and the weekend has been slow. The family-run pub serves food and has a function room. She said: “It started off very quiet. I think a lot of people in Thanet are concerned about the virus and going back into lockdown – talking to customers they were concerned about the R rating and the weather didn’t help.
“Next week I can see it being busier but the pub trade is dying anyway. People want a meal when they go out to drink rather than just socialise -yesterday the roads were so empty it was like Christmas. We’ve not been able to do any functions or parties either. Our customers did adhere to the social distancing rules.”