Pontefract pubs open their doors to customers once again
Pontefract publicans are optimistic about the future as they opened today for the first time since November.
And many of the townsfolk headed out for that first pint in beer gardens with friends and family as lockdown restrictions were lifted as part of the Government s roadmap.
Since the government confirmed pubs were able to serve customers outside from Monday April 12, preparations have been going on to make sure it was a successful and safe return to business and for their customers .
Some owners were worried that the wintery weather of the weekend would put regulars off returning.
Craig Humphriss, from Ego at the Beverley Arms, said: “The weather will play a huge part of how well we do going forward.
“Bookings have been looking really good and on the first day back we’ve made double what we normally would on an average Monday, and that’s with 60 per cent of our seats unavailable.
“Overall the future is looking promising, bookings for the weekends are looking great and everyone’s so eager to get back out by the looks of things.”
Like the Beverly Arms, many pubs have had to follow the strict Government guidelines to allow them to reopen.
This includes mandatory check-ins for all customers upon entry and for many establishments, a one way system in and out of the beer garden.
But Craig said some bar staff had mixed emotions about reopening.
He said: “All the staff are quite excited, obviously there’s a few that are quite nervous because of how long it’s been, but I’m sure everyone will slip back into it and regain that confidence.
“What’s helped the most is that we did a lot in terms of organisation prior to opening back up - which has been very reassuring for everyone and it’s made that transition very easy.
“We’ll keep changing and evolving to what works best for everyone, overall we’re just happy to be back.”
The next important date for the hospitality industry is in five weeks on Monday, May 17, the date when customers are allowed inside their establishment.
Andy Hall, owner of the Cobbler pub and restaurant, said: “It’s been a really good day, thanks to the weather being kind.
“It’s been really busy, I’d say we’ve had 100 people in and out from opening to 4pm.
“Moving forward, we just need the blessing of good weather, when it drops a bit cooler you can see people moving pretty quickly.
“Then obviously we need the freedom to open up inside for people to sit down, and we’d love to open the soft play area as soon as possible."