Norfolk’s pubs raring to reopen with marquees hired for beer gardens

Grahame Macdonald (inset left) and the team at the Cellar House are ready for a July reopening, as i

Grahame Macdonald (inset left) and the team at the Cellar House are ready for a July reopening, as is Nick Attfield (inset right) and the Adnams team. Picture: Archant/WWW.JAMESBEDFORD.COM - Credit: Archant/WWW.JAMESBEDFORD.COM

Two Norfolk pubs are so ready to reopen that they have hired marquees for their beer garden

The Cellar House at Eaton and The Old Ram at Tivetshall St Mary are run by husband-and-wife team Victoria and Grahame MacDonald.

The pair are getting their plans in order to reopen on July 1, saying they are determined to be optimistic.

Mr MacDonald explained: “We’ve hired a marquee to put in the beer garden in case we don’t get a brilliant summer. That way people can come to the pub and we can have the beer garden in use under social distancing.”

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The couple have already been practising observing social distancing as they run the Eaton Post Office out of The Cellar House site.

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“A big thing will be getting people to have the confidence to go out and spend when they can – and businesses will have to prove they’re observing social distancing and are taking it seriously. For us we’ve had an advantage because we’ve already got the screens up and are taking precautions,” he said.

Moreover the World Heath Organisation has revised its advice, saying people need to stay a minumum of one metre apart instead of two.

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The implications for businesses which are often tightly-packed and rely on high footfall – like pubs - could be huge.

Mr MacDonald said: “Of course keeping people safe is the priority – but if the guidance was reduced to one metre we could have double the people in the pub.”

Across the border in Suffolk, Adnams are also preparing for a July reopening for its eight managed pubs and 38 tenanted pubs across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Adnams’ director of properties, events tours and experiences, Nick Attfield, said: “What I’m more concerned about are these social pods. We don’t know when we might be able to meet up with other households.

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“A lot of our pubs and the areas they are in are angled at mixed families, cross-generation holidays and large groups. Our average tables are from six to 12 people - if you see a two-person table it’s rare.”

He said another concern was the pub’s facilities being used by the public.

“We always have people nipping in to use our facilities,” said Mr Attfield. “But with the public toilets closed we’re going to have be really firm on that. It’ll be difficult enough as it is with having to clean every time someone going in that’s already in the pub.”

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