May 17: Pubs reopen indoors and coaches set off on first holidays
- Credit: Lily Newton-Browne
Pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues across the county have thrown open their indoor areas to customers today (Monday).
Pub managers have spoken to the North Somerset Times about what it means to them to reopen their business after more than a year of lockdown restrictions and financial challenges.
Gary Berwick, business partner with Sian Powell at The Poacher pub in Portishead High Street, said they are not expecting ‘too much’ at the moment and are taking ‘one day at a time’ as restrictions lift.
Gary added: “We are very, very lucky to have our loyal customers as well as local pubs which have supported us from the start. Portishead has a fantastic community and we all work together.
“When we were low on staff in the run-up to Christmas, the landlords of The Phoenix over the road really helped us out and, as much as it’s been a struggle for everyone, we have been fortunate that our struggle hasn’t been as bad as others.
You may also want to watch:
“We relied on Government grants as well as everyone else, and the Eat Out To Help Out scheme which launched last year really helped us out. We have seen a loss of revenue from the pub closures due to Covid, but we have to look to the future now.”
The Poacher, which cooks meals fresh on-site, has a reduced menu that works on a week-by-week basis as Covid restrictions lift, catering for meat-eaters, pescatarians and vegetarians.
- 1 Majority of Covid cases in North Somerset caused by Delta variant
- 2 PICTURES: Clear summer skies and solar eclipse in North Somerset
- 3 PM set to announce postponement of lockdown easing today
- 4 Weston couple awarded British Empire Medal for supporting others in pandemic
- 5 Appeal to find missing teenager Ruben
- 6 Somerset has best Covid vaccine rate for both doses
- 7 Clevedon School orders year groups to self-isolate after Covid outbreak
- 8 Covid-19: Number of Delta variant cases in North Somerset
- 9 Euro 2020: 7 places to watch Euro 2020 in North Somerset
- 10 Clevedon LTC launch new beginners groups
The pub boasts a large seating area indoors, has hand sanitiser stations situated throughout the premises as well as a large seating area at the front and a beer garden at the back of the building.
Gary added: “We opened outside when Government restrictions allowed in April and we’re thrilled to open indoors today. We’re on a 10-year lease and Enterprise Inns, who we rent the building from, has been very good to us, we couldn’t have asked for more. At one point, they put our rent down to 10 per cent to help us out and now we’re on a catch-up scheme, so we have been very lucky.”
The Poacher is hosting its Portishead Gin and Sausage event at its car park, off High Street, on July 17 from 12.30pm. The summer event will feature live music from bands including The Mondays, be broadcast live by Base Radio, in Bristol, and is free to enter.
Gary is hosting the event to say thank you to the community for their support throughout the pandemic.
Travel firms have also been taking advantage of the ease in restrictions. Earlier today, two Bakers Dolphin coaches set off from Gordano Services to take people on the firm’s first five-day holidays since lockdown began.
One of the company's Gold coaches is taking 24 people on a holiday to the Lake District while another coach is heading south, taking 26 travellers to St Mawes in Cornwall.
Simon Honey, who is heading to Cornwall, said: “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and I’m over the moon to be going back out there.”
Fellow driver Paul Mansfield, who heading north, said: “It’s great to be back doing what we know.”
Travellers Anne and Maurice Brain, from Pill, are also no strangers to Bakers Dolphin. Anne said: “I am looking forward to doing something normal, and I expect Maurice is looking forward to having a break from doing all the cooking.”
Sales and marketing director Amanda Harrington said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this day to come, and it was fitting that the sun was shining as our first two coaches set off for their holidays. I’m not sure who is happier to be back on the road, our passengers or our drivers.
“It’s been a very challenging time for everyone, and we do, of course, still need to take sensible precautions and ensure we adhere to all the proper health and safety procedures.
“But we are delighted to be able to do what we’ve been doing for well over a century, and that’s helping people make some memories and have happy holidays.”