'The outside rules are just for four or five weeks - and at least you’ll have a beer' - pubs get ready to reopen on Monday

Shops, beers gardens pubs, outdoor dining at restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and other businesses have been given the green light to reopen next week.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Craig Booth at The Houghton

The government confirmed the decision on Easter Monday.

Speaking at the Downing Street Covid press conference, Boris Johnson also said that he is “hopeful” international travel will be able to resume on May 17, but this will depend on what happens between now and then.

Appearing alongside England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Mr Johnson said he will be visiting a pub on April 12 when restrictions are relaxed.

And venues across the district are making their final preparations for the big reopening.

Former Featherstone Rovers played Craig Booth took over The Houghton pub in Castleford last year.

He had just a few months open for business the summer before lockdown returned.

This week he is preparing the pub’s beer garden and car park for customers.

He said: “I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone chatting and talking.

“There will still be harsh regulations and that will be a difficult thing for us, but it’ll be just be for four or five weeks and at least you’ll have a beer. We’re a good regulars’ pub and it’ll be nice to see everyone in.”

Alex McHale, the owner of Maud’s Cafe in Pontefract, said: “We’re just finalising our opening times and menus, restocking our fridges and freezers and working out if I can bring some staff back.

“It is a little daunting as I’m not too sure what to expect.

“Will the public be out in their droves? Are people going to still be cautious? I think we’ve just got to go for it and hope.

“We’ll manage but I’m really hoping the public come out and take advantage of the places that are open again. We need them now more than ever.”

Sean Womack, general manager at the Blue Bell in Pontefract said: “We most definitely cannot wait to welcome everyone back into the Blue Bell. We’ve missed what we do.”

Wakefield Council has confirmed the reopening of its services, following the prime minister’s announcement of the second phase of the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions.

From April 12 all libraries and all leisure facilities will reopen

Wakefield Council markets will open to all traders, Pontefract Castle grounds and toilets will remain open, the shop will re-open and the cafe will be serving takeaway food and drink only, while Sandal Castle grounds will remain open, but the cafe will be closed.

Country parks remain open, including toilet facilities. The cafe at Pugneys Country Park will be serving takeaway food and drink only.

Anna Hartley, Wakefield’s director of public health, said: “This is an extremely critical time as businesses start to re-open and we start to welcome people back to our city and town centres once again.

“We are doing everything we can to support local businesses to not only reopen safely but to recover from what has been a very challenging time and we will continue to offer support for as long as is needed.

“We want people and businesses to be confident to return to our high streets and enjoy our wonderful, vibrant local economy and it is everyone’s responsibility to follow the social distancing guidance and to be patient and considerate of others to keep ourselves, and everyone else, safe.”

Full details of changes to services can be found on the Council’s website at www.wakefield.gov.uk/coronavirus

What will you be doing first when businesses reopen?

Going out: Top, Craig Booth at The Houghton, and Alex McHale at Maud’s.

‘I’m really hoping the public come out and take advantage of the places that are open again – we need them now more than ever!’