Pub and restaurant owners keeping 'fingers crossed' for rule-free Christmas

Dawn Hopkins has been a landlady in Norwich for almost 20 years. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Dawn Hopkins, landlady of The Rose Inn in Norwich, is feeling positive about Christmas and is hoping it will be rule-free. - Credit: Archant

The owners of pubs and restaurants across Norfolk are feeling positive as the countdown to Christmas begins, despite rising Covid cases.

With last year's festivities overshadowed by restrictions, customers are booking earlier than ever for Christmas meals and parties to make up for lost time.

With two months to go until the big day, the general feeling within the hospitality industry is optimism.

the avenue

Helen Harris, barmaid Summer Beckett and Sharon Carr at The Avenue in Great Yarmouth, where the team are trying not to worry about Covid.  - Credit: danielle booden

Helen Harris, who runs The Avenue pub in Great Yarmouth with Sharon Carr, said: "We are really excited about Christmas and fingers crossed it will be back to normal with no lockdown.

"We have a new Christmas menu and are doing functions and at the moment I am not worrying, if I do I will panic so I take each week as it comes."

At a press conference on Wednesday, health secretary Sajid Javid said the government will not be implementing its 'Plan B' Covid measures, which would reimpose rules such as mandatory face masks.

However, he warned that the pandemic is not over as the UK hit the highest number of daily deaths since March on Tuesday (October 19).

Dawn Hopkins, landlady of The Rose Inn in Norwich, said: "At the moment I am feeling quite positive and we have lots of events planned and people are looking forward to it, so fingers crossed we can do everything.

"The vaccine programme has given me confidence but I'm hoping people get boosters as it will give more confidence. "

This attitude of resilience in the industry has been apparent throughout the pandemic and Ms Hopkins even opened a deli inside her pub.

Elsewhere, couple Frances Chisholm and Pete Harvey took on two new businesses over the last year - The George in Cley-next-the-Sea and The Ten Bells in Norwich, with the latter turned into a barbecue restaurant.

The new owners, Pete Harvey and Frances Chisholm, of the Ten Bells, newly opened as a pub restaurant

Pete Harvey and Frances Chisholm took on The Ten Bells in Norwich in December 2020. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

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They also run The Hero in Burnham Overy Staithe and The Wildman in Norwich.

Miss Chisholm said: "We are really positive and will take what comes, after what has happened we are resilient.

"We have really strong teams in all of our businesses and are confident we can survive anything."

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