Restaurant bookings healthy for end of lockdown despite fears over one household rule

Terry Hughes, one of the partners at the Belgian Monk, which could set up a new European company to

Terry Hughes, one of the partners at the Belgian Monk, which could set up a new European company to avoid costs from Brexit. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Restaurants say their diaries are looking healthy for when lockdown ends next week, but that rules limiting diners to only eat with their households could impact bookings.

From Thursday, December 3, restaurants will be able to reopen, but Norfolk's tier two grading means diners will only be able to eat with their own household.

When lockdown restrictions have eased on other occasions this year, restaurants have seen a rush in bookings as diners clamour to enjoy a meal away from their own kitchens.

And while the majority of restaurants we spoke to said bookings were looking healthy following Thursday's announcement, it was by no means the same level of demand.

Terry Hughes, of the Belgian Monk in Norwich city centre, said bookings for the weekend after lockdown were looking good, but he still had concerns about weeknights due to the single household rule.

"It will have a massive impact because it will be limiting who can come out - you are not going to be able to go out if you are two couples as a party," he said. "That's our concern.

"It will go back to being only couples, or if you have a family of four."

He said they were asking all people who booked if they lived in the same household with the other diners, and said some had not been aware it was a rule under the tier two guidelines.

Chef Patron Ben Handley from The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, King's Lynn. Picture: Andrew Waddison/AW PR

Ben Handley, at the Duck Inn in Stanhoe. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AW PR

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Ben Handley, at the Duck Inn in Stanhoe, said they had a decent level of bookings and were lucky with consistent trade from regulars.

"We have decided we will be contacting customers to emphasise our policy that we are adhering to the government guidelines," he said. "That might impact [bookings], but we don't know if it will yet.

"We have got an opportunity to to open and that's what we're going to do."

If customers bring in a toilet roll at The Station Smokehouse they will get money off the entire bil

Tim Ridley, at The Station Smokehouse in Hoveton. - Credit: Archant

And Tim Ridley, at the Station Smokehouse in Hoveton, said: "We took a lot of bookings [on Thursday night]. We were open for takeaways and the phone was ringing almost as much for bookings as takeaways.

"However we are not mad with bookings by a long way."

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