Copeland MP, Trudy Harrison has met with local pub owners ahead of their reopening this Saturday following months of closure due to COVID-19.
Speaking with local club and pub owners from popular venues including Joe Bananas, Bubbles Nightclub, Club 135, Shipwrights, and The Whittington Cat, Trudy heard more about their plans to resume business following the Government’s decision to allow food and drink settings to open their doors to the public this weekend.
In following Government guidance, new rules including a 1-metre social distancing measure will mean venues can only allow a reduced number of customers inside.
Owner of Joe Bananas, Jason Fish, who will be required to reduce his usual capacity from 280 to 88, has been working closely with his local community to develop ideas including temperature checks for customers upon entry as part of new safety measures.
Mr Fish, said: “The staff at Joe Bananas are excited about welcoming back old and new customers this coming Saturday, it is going to be a fantastic weekend and we hope all will enjoy.
“From speaking to a lot of pubs owners in Whitehaven, a lot of effort has been put in to make the pubs and Whitehaven a great place again, and most importantly, a COVID safe environment; landlords and land ladies are looking forward to it.”
The government is also consulting with industry on how businesses should record customer information to help keep customers and employees safe and support the new test and trace system.
Trudy said: “Following months of closure, it is welcome news that pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are able to open their doors to the public from this weekend.
“With more than 4,000 food and drink business operating across Cumbria, employing 7,500 and worth £554 million to the local economy, it is imperative that these businesses get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“I commend the resilience, patience and sacrifices business owners across Copeland have had to make during what should have been their busiest months, and I look forward to visiting our wonderful food and drink businesses very soon.”
The new government guidance sets out a range of measures for pubs and restaurants to become COVID-19 secure, including:
- requiring use of table service where possible instead of ordering at the bar and assigning a single staff member per table
- encouraging use of contactless ordering from tables where available, such as through an app
- discouraging non-essential trips by staff within venues, such as between the kitchen and front of house, by using radios and other electronic devices to communicate
- encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the venue
- providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene as people arrive on the premises, with signage and visual aids
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We know this pandemic has been particularly hard for people working in hairdressing and hospitality. Allowing pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to open will be another step in our plan to kickstart our economic recovery in a safe manner.
“The guidance we have set out provides clear, practical steps businesses can take to open in a way that is as safe as possible for workers and customers.”