'They're like family': Punters queue outside pubs on reopening day
- Credit: Archant
Landlords were reunited with their loyal customers indoors for the first time today - with many pubs reopening to find customers already queuing outside.
For the first time in months the public can sit inside and enjoy a pint in the watering holes they have frequented for years.
And many got there ahead of time to secure a spot.
The Mischief, an 18th century pub in Fye Bridge, has only been open for five weeks out of the past 14 months.
Dave Spoors, who has frequented the pub a few times a week for the past decade, said he had missed the staff at the pub who had become "like family".
He said: "I'll definitely be coming in more this summer to make up for lost time. I usually come in three or four times a week - sometimes I nip in at lunch as I own the History Box antiques shop nearby.
"They're so friendly in here - it's like family. And that's what keeps me coming back."
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Manager of the pub Jeff Davies said: "We couldn't reopen when there was the food rule because we're a drinking pub. We're just so excited to reopen, the atmosphere will be different because usually we're packed but when we were open last time we realised groups make their own atmosphere.
"We'll still have the games on, music playing and making sure people feel safe when they're moving around the pub. You work with what you've got."
He was echoed by Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers, who made the decision not to reopen for outdoor service on Timberhill earlier this year.
But as he reopened the doors on Monday morning he had customers waiting to be seated.
He said: "We knew we were taking a bit of a risk not doing outdoor service, but seeing people out here just adds to the excitement and the joy of being back.
"The pub's never looked so good, we've got a lot of new staff and training to do, and we're really looking forward to getting back to what we do best."
One of his first customers, Margaret O'Brien, added: "We've been coming here for years - it's one of the only pubs I'd come to by myself because it feels safe and I know the staff in here. It's so good to be back."
Pubs welcoming back their patrons comes as this paper launched its Summer in the City campaign sponsored by Chantry Place and Norwich BID, which encourages people to get out and about in Norwich this summer, and to make the most of its shops, pubs and restaurants and events.