PUBS across Warwickshire welcomed back customers at the weekend after the loosening of lockdown restrictions saw them pull their first pints since March.
Cox’s Yard, on the riverside in Stratford, had a busy Saturday without ever reaching capacity. Managing partner Stuart Burbridge said the custom was largely local throughout the weekend.
He said: “By and large it went really well and we have had some really good feedback from customers and our systems worked very well.
“I got the impression that people had stayed quite close to home and it was mainly locals which is way it should be in these early days.
“We had a team of 25 on duty both days – although we were able to send some off duty on Sunday under the flexible furlough which is just what it is for – and it was quite labour-intensive. As we get used to the new way of working, we will find ways of making it more efficient
“In terms of numbers, we ranged from between 150 to the high 200s which made it busy but perfect for us to handle We probably ended 30 per cent down on what we would take on a normal weekend, so we are pleased with that for a first operation since lockdown.”
That story was repeated in the south of the county.
Sheelagh Saunders, who is mayor of Shipston, runs the Black Horse in the town and The Gate the nearby village of Brailes, felt the weather was perfect for pubs to re-open.
“The weather wasn’t too good and that meant that custom was nice and steady and people were really well behaved.
“Some of the town centre pubs had got a bit busier as the evening went on but there was no trouble at all.
“It was mostly locals at our two pubs and it was nice to see people after three or four months. You obviously run into people in town, but many we had not seen and many had been isolating for various periods during the lockdown.”
“We had worked through and rehearsed what we were going to do and decided to keep it very simple and it worked. Everyone has lived through this for four months and are well aware of the restrictions.”
The Observer has contacted Warwickshire Police for a comment on the re-opening.