How businesses in north Norfolk are gearing up for reopening day, Saturday, July 4
- Credit: Archant
Saturday, July 4 is the big day when pubs, restaurants, campsites, hotels, and caravan sites, can all reopen again. Reporter DAVID BALE found out how north Norfolk’s normally booming hospitality sector is getting ready.
From Saturday, July 4 pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England can welcome customers inside for the first time since lockdown began in March.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the news on June 23 and he also said that two-metre social distancing would be relaxed to “one-metre plus”, with some conditions.
Certain restrictions will be in place including changes to shift patterns, mandatory table service and more use of hand sanitiser.
And it means that a trip to a local bar or place to eat will be a very different experience from how it was before the coronavirus outbreak.
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Some businesses will not even be reopening on Saturday, July 4, for various reasons.
Chris Graveling, owner of the family-run Grove hotel and restaurant in Cromer, said: “We’re opening everything on Saturday apart from the pool and the massage hut. Our room bookings are about 60pc. We would normally be 100pc this time of year.
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“We’ve got infrared hand sanitiser, put in more outside seating, spent a lot on PPE, with an enhanced cleaning regime, and people can pay through contactless from their room.
“It will be quite a change and there’s a lot to prepare for. We’re excited but there’s a lot for us to remember to do, and a lot of people to train, as we’ve got a new system in place.
“We are very pleased to be back open and excited that we’ve got more outside dining.”
Orest Musial, owner of the King’s Head pub in High Street, Holt, said: “We are reopening on July 4. Regarding the business, we’ve got a good feel about this weekend. We can comply with the government guidelines on social distancing. We don’t know how busy we will be, but we hope to have a steady start.”
Bob Brewster, landlord at the Crown Inn in Sheringham, said: “We’re not opening on Saturday, July 4 - we’re giving it another week. There’s so much to do to get everyone ready, it’s so involved, You’ve got to get the tables and chairs right, and the screens - it’s been a bit of a minefield.
“I think it’s 50/50 for pubs in Sheringham whether they are reopening on Saturday or not.”
Kim and Belle Steggles, who run the Bann Thai restuarant in Cromer, are also not reopening on Saturday, July 4.
Mr Steggles said: “We have been doing takeaways since lockdown began. We’ve been so busy with takeaways that we feel it would be bedlam on Saturday night, if we reopened the restaurant to people, so we are going to reopen on Wednesday, July 8. It will be prior bookings only. We have reduced table numbers to about 50pc of what they were, which should be just about viable for us.”
The Deer’s Glade caravan and camping site in Hanworth is reopening on July 4.
It says on its website: “Good news. As you can appreciate, some of our procedures will have to change to abide by government guidelines and to keep all our guests and staff safe.
“We are implementing one-way systems, limited numbers and increased and rigorous cleaning schedules. Most parts of the park will be open. However, there will be new guidance for their use.”
All pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes were asked to shut on March 20 in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Since then, many restaurants have started offering food delivery and takeaways to generate income while their doors are closed. Some pubs have also been allowed to offer takeaway beers.
Many pubs have been doing what they can to help others during the crisis. These have included the Victoria Inn at Holkham, which has been supplying free meals for the vulnerable and NHS staff.