Bedford publicans opening their pub doors tomorrow (Saturday) have reassured anyone looking for a pint and something to eat that safety is their “top priority”.
Various ‘non-essential’ businesses have been told they can open from 4 July as national coronavirus lockdown measures are further relaxed.
Despite this, there have been local concerns about the easing of lockdown rules as Bedford’s infection rate appears to not be dropping as quickly as in other areas.
Local health chiefs have been advising people to still remain two-meters apart and only go out if absolutely necessary until an investigation into the area’s infection rate is complete.
While the report’s findings won’t be available until Monday (6 July), some preliminary reports suggest Bedford is starting to see a fall in the number of cases per 100,000.
A handful of businesses have said they’ll remain closed for now “for safety”.
But, it also won’t be economically viable for some to open, especially with restrictions on how many customers can enter a premises at any one time.
But of those that are opening, staff have been working hard to adapt their systems so customers can remain safe and still make the most of the food and drink on offer.
“We’ve had team training, put screens up, developed one-way systems and created hand sanitiser stations,” says Gemma Aylard, General Manager at The Embankment Hotel.
“Customers can also order via an app at their table to minimise contact with staff, but staff will have fresh uniforms daily and also be temperature checked when starting their shift.”
Each pub that is opening has had to study a 43 page guidance document issued by the Government ahead of opening.
This document includes an extensive list of guidance, including:
- Making sure people are ‘1-metre+’ apart
- Minimising contact with staff by using menu order apps and cash-less payment
- Placing hand sanitisers in various locations
- Putting a one-way system in place for entering and exiting the premises
- Limiting capacity and staggering entry times
- Checking staff health and providing fresh uniforms for each shift
- Limiting the number of people in toilets at any one time
- Recording customer contact details for track and trace purposes
“It’s an exciting time but there is a slight nervous apprehension to reopening,” adds Luke Wood, General Manager at d’Parys.
“The last couple of days we’ve been installing signs so it’s clear as day, as to what guests can expect. Everyone will also be welcomed by a host who can explain what’s changed.
“Just to make sure everyone feels as welcome as possible but also as comfortable as possible in this strange environment.”
Which pubs are open?
Wells & Co have provided a list of all the pubs in Bedford Borough and if they’re open or not.
Wells & Co pubs opening:
- The Anchor Inn, Barford
- The Bedford Arms, Oakley
- The Burnaby Arms, Bedford
- d’Parys, Bedford
- The Duke Inn, Kempston
- The Embankment Hotel, Bedford
- The Falcon Inn, Bletsoe
- The Fox & Hounds, Riseley
- The King William IV, Kempston
- The Mulberry Bush, Kempston
- The Ship Inn, Bedford
- The Sportsman, Bedford
- The Swan with Two Nicks, Sharnbrook
- The White Horse, Bedford
Wells & Co pubs remaining closed:
- Castle, Bedford
- Devonshire Arms, Bedford
- Foresters Arms, Bedford
- The Park, Bedford
Wells & Co pubs uncomfirmed:
- The Bar Citrus, Bedford
- The Cock Inn, Wootton
- The Half Moon, Kempston
- The Mill Hotel, Rooms Bedford
- The Pheasant, Bedford
- The Prince of Wales, Bromham
- The Red Lion, Wilstead
- The Star, Clapham
- Fox & Hounds, Clapham
- Prince of Wales, Bromham
- Red Lion, Wilstead
List correct at time of publication, not all pubs have responded to give their status.
Will you be going to a pub this weekend? Have you decided to stay away? If you did go, what was your experience like? Let us know your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org.