Wales

Coronavirus: Pubs and restaurants toast reopening inside

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Media captionThese friends said it was quieter than normal

Drinkers and businesses have been toasting the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants indoors in Wales.

Table service, visors and even thermal imagining cameras to take temperatures are to be a regular sight at locals.

Customers have welcomed the latest easing of lockdown as having a "little bit of normality" back in their lives.

Business owners, meanwhile, are hoping to start clawing back some of the revenue lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From Monday:

'We've never had so many bookings for a Monday'

Image caption Nick Newman: "We've all been waiting - and training - for this day"

Nick Newman, chairman of the Cardiff Licensees Forum and landlord of the Philharmonic, said the number of online bookings to reserve tables was "encouraging" after being closed for so long.

"It feels great to be back open indoors and a real plus for us and other businesses," he said.

"We've all been waiting - and training - for this day to have the confidence to open and judging from the bookings we've already had, the customers are confident as well. We've never had so many bookings for a Monday."

Among his customers was Sarah, from Blackwood, who said: "I wanted to come to my favourite pub.

"It's nice to have a bit of normality back in life. The precautions are something that needs to be done and I'm happy to abide by whatever they put in place."

Another customer said she would have to get used to ordering drinks from an app.

"We are getting used to the new way," she said.

'More staff required for fewer people'

Image caption Dafydd Watkin: "The tape measure has been out"

Dafydd Watkin, head chef at the Talbot Hotel in Tregaron, Ceredigion, said he was "very glad to be reopening but things are going to be very different".

"We're lucky in the sense that we've got a very big building so we can spread everyone out," he said.

"We've moved our bar from a small room at one end to our big function room.

"The tape measure has been out but capacity wise it's not too bad because we're now using the function room that we didn't use very often.

"But the problem is we're having to put on more staff to deal with less people."

When asked if the hotel was satisfied that it wouldn't be running at a loss by reopening with the restrictions on social distancing in place, Mr Watkin said "it is a risk".

"But it's a risk we're willing to take at the moment to see how things go.

"Hopefully people will come out. We're full this week and next week.

"Our hotel rooms are full and hopefully that's going to carry on into September and October."

'I think some customers are nervous'

Image caption Kelly Jones: "It's just about making people feel comfort in it all and reassured'

Kelly Jones, general manager of the Talbot, was on furlough until last week when she came back to work to help with the preparations for reopening.

"People are still as welcome as they always were but obviously you can't have that close connection with people, you can't get too close and you have to keep your distance," she said.

"I think some customers are nervous.

"When they book they ask us what the procedures are, and I explain to them where we'd like them to come in and how the seating will work.

"I think it's just about making people feel comfort in it all and reassured."

'The pub has been absolutely manic'

Image copyright Hayley Lewis
Image caption Hayley Lewis has used money saved for her daughter's postponed wedding to renovate her pub's beer garden

Pub landlord Hayley Lewis' daughter had just finished trying on her wedding dress when lockdown was announced back in March.

Hours later the wedding was cancelled, and her pub was closed until further notice.

The grandmother decided to use the cash saved for the wedding to renovate her pub's beer garden and keep busy.

Ms Lewis said when she opened the beer garden at the Wern Inn in Plasmarl, Swansea, on 13 July, people queued from 09:30 BST in the pouring rain to get in.

She said it had been "absolutely manic" every day, and she'd had to turn people away due to social-distancing rules.

"We've done everything possible to make people feel safe, and still have a good time," she said.

Ms Lewis said she was concerned about reopening indoors, but with barriers, socially-distanced tables, and limited numbers indoors, she had done everything she could.

"It's very difficult, but people are so glad to go out because they've been stuck in for nearly four months now and they're just glad to see friends and have a chat," she said.

'We are as safe as we can be'

Image caption Joe Lavin: "We are now pretty much fully booked for the next four weeks"

Conwy's Castle Hotel and its restaurant reopened on Monday.

"We are now pretty much fully booked for the next four weeks," said general manager Joe Lavin.

He said due to current rules, customers had to book in advance rather than walk in and they needed to be seated.

As well as hand hygiene and personal protective equipment like visors, staff have to change their clothes on entering and leaving work, and they are also given temperature checks.

"As a team, we are as safe as we can be," he said.

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