Pubs cater for new normal

A pub in East Keswick has used innovation to comply with coronavirus restrictions - by replacing outdoor tables with hay bales.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 8:19 am

Publican Karen Hart of the Duke of Wellington pub said that customers have ‘loved’ the new idea since reopening on Saturday.

The hay bales were sourced from a local farm in Wetherby - inspired by similar ideas used at weddings and the annual beer festival nearby.

Karen said: “Circumstances has presented up with a massive challenge to resume somewhat normal services at The Duke.

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“Having to reduce the capacity to 50 per cent in the restaurant and none in the bar area, we have come up with a new way of working.

“We’ve decided to move our restaurant outside.

“The hay bales were a perfect option as they are a low cost a bit of fun and we are trying our very best to adapt to this new system.

“Hopefully we can get through coronavirus.”

Karen said the response to the change had been brilliant.

She added: “We wanted to add a bit of fun and make it safe at the same time.

“I had seen similar options at weddings and our local annual beer festival.

“We had a fantastic day (last Saturday).

“We did a BBQ and everyone used a one way system to get drinks.”

Leeds City Council issued guidance for residents, visitors and businesses as hospitality and entertainment venues prepared to reopen last weekend.

From Saturday July 4, restaurants, bars, leisure and entertainment venues were able to reopen as part of the latest relaxation of restrictions due to Covid-19.

A council statement claimed restrictions is being placed on the volume of music so socially distancing revellers will be able to easily hold conversations while they remain two metres apart. No live music performances will be allowed.

Businesses were also encouraged to put up signage and “social distancing visuals”, while a team of council night marshals will be operating over both of the first two weekends of the reopening. West Yorkshire Police will also have extra feet on the ground.

Most pubs and bars will operate with reduced capacities, with space available either through online bookings or a first-come first-served basis.

The council statement added: “Opening times may be varied, with contactless payment being used where possible. Music levels in all venues will be restricted to ensure customers can talk normally, with no live band performances allowed.

“Signage and reminders of safety messages will be visible in popular areas across the city centre, along with hand sanitiser stations. Additional cleaning will be carried out, especially on objects being touched such as benches, bins and push buttons as well as at transport interchanges.”

Venues have also been advised to introduce table service to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Taxis and private hire vehicles will be available from taxi ranks or by hailing, but pre-booking is advised.

They may have additional requirements, such as limits on the number of people per vehicle, and face coverings, so it is advised to check that when booking and to be aware that some operators may decline to accept customers who do not have a face covering.”

Meanwhile Wetherby Business Association Chairman Nick Dyson welcomed changes to The Shambles in Wetherby, which has bene closed to traffic to allow cafes room for additional outside eating.

“Any feedback from the public would be welcomed on this step – it certainly gives Wetherby a continental feel.”

He added that plans by Leeds City Council to turn High Street and part of North street into a one way narrowed street to maintain social distancing will be going ahead.

“They have agreed to leave pull-in areas for delivery vehicles to the shops, which will help enormously.”