Thanet publicans on their first weekend back in business

Julian Newick and Sarah Mason at The Lifeboat in 2020

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.

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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.

Across the channel – Julian’s brother at work in France


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)

Royal Albion Hotel


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.

The Racing Greyhound

“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.”


  1. I think its the end for all pubs , the smoking law was many years ago , that’s fair enough , that alone caused many to close.
    One used to go to a pub to stand at the bar have a chat with their mates, maybe a meal , music, party etc.
    Due to Covid-19 , one has to sit away from others , maybe prove id at the door , check if they allowed to use the toilet.
    Far better to get a few cases of beer in also cheaper and invite your friends round , have a bbq and a pee when you like.

  2. Thank you Rebecca , i cannot see pubs surviving on the odd few drinkers in the summer , I have no idea how much a pint is these days i don’t think the profit will cover their overheads .
    Go in pub or go to a local shop and get arsed on the beach , if one wants a piss (not that I would) well we have one in the corner.
    It would save the police a lot of time and hassle .
    Long gone are my days of going to many pubs before the long bar on the seafront or the Caprice leaving about 3 AM .
    Pubs only been open this weekend but not busy , i did expect a lot of trouble makers to be out.

  3. It has indeed affected the pub ins dusty long ago and this situation with the Covid-19 has made it worst, I saw no great reason excitement as predicted here, people got used to drinking at home and ordering take away meals, everything has become an individual affair, no socialising as the distance has to be kept wherever you are, we seem to be very concerned not to near people and some don’t even say hello, it’s very bad at the moment, I’m sorry to say I won’t be using pubs anymore as has become too much bother and too many regulation … what’s the point on that? Very sad ?

  4. It is sad i agree . I was told its about £4 a pint now , one can buy a case for £16 or less.
    I think it will also affect the restaurants who wants to go to be glared at by people they don’t know, its bad enough walking down the street at this time.
    There will be more take aways opening and home delivery , Nice to have a few cans and an Indian at home .
    Even my dog is worried all these humans walking round with muzzles on who they bit, ha ha.

    • It seems to me that people have forgotten that pubs used to be like community centres. I grew up in my parents pubs in the 1960s. My Dad used to say that when you go into a pub alongside a pint you get a friendly chat, meet new people, find out about the local area and get to borrow a pound. The local bank manager told him that if he stopped cashing people’s cheques he wouldn’t start selling pints. A long way from Weatherspoons I know but it really was a community hub (and I am talking London not a small village). I so hope we get those pubs back

  5. Had a visit to a few of the open local pubs,quiet surprised & impressed how well they are dealing with covid19 guidelines.
    Also great to see establishments which have had a deep clean & redecoration during lock out.
    Ok the downside,some visited pubs have put up their prices but being in a well supervised,super clean,newly decorated premises kind of makes up for the extra customer expense.
    Pubs that have not had an internal clean up (heck they had enough time,they will know) who are charging extra,should be told and maybe avoided.

    support your local high street !

  6. Unfortunately, your local pub has had its day. Wetherspoons et al have seen to that avoid like the covid 19. It’s a deadly virus spread by 30 somethings whose main aim is to get drunk as fast as they can and start a fight.
    So, let’s think about this. Open pubs, more police needed A&E full of bloody nosed thicko’s. How is this supposed to help the economy? How about getting real jobs back to work NOW. Bloody useless government.

  7. Oh, that’s alright then. As long as the customer gets what he wants, no problem! So, customer gets drunk on cheap beer, starts a fight, has to be collected by paramedics, the police, goes to hospital where he/she has to be stitched up then possibly arrested taken to local police station. Whose paid for this.. the tax payer. But who cares as long as the customer gets what he wants. Thanks Andrew, it must be so nice not to live in the real world!

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