Pubs Open for First Time Since Lockdown
Saturday, July 4th and the North East’s hospitality industry reopened for the first time since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed in March. Drinkers and diners have returned to Newcastle city centre for the first time in months. On Saturday, lockdown restrictions were lifted further, as pubs, bars and restaurants, as well as hairdressers and other businesses, were allowed to reopen after more than three months.
However, only a fraction of the pubs, bars and restaurants in two major northern cities will reopen on Saturday, official figures show. Newcastle City Council said around one in three city centre licensees have said they planned to be serving on so-called Super Saturday.
A number of pubs on Tyneside have already stated they do not want to join the rush to reopen, fearing “total chaos” as drinkers head out to enjoy their first poured pint in months.
And official figures from Sunderland City Council showed around one in five pubs, bars and restaurants had indicated they would be pulling pints on July 4. Council figures show around 30% of licensees in Newcastle city centre have stated they will definitely welcome patrons once again on Saturday.
A further 10% said they plan to open later in the month, once the initial rush has passed. Another 35% said they have not yet decided whether to open this month, with the remainder not stating their plans to licensing officials.
For some, what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ was an exciting chance at a taste of normality.
For others, the easing of regulations provoked anxieties about the possible further spread of coronavirus, and despite being allowed to reopen, many business chose to stay closed for a little longer.
In Newcastle, the day started fairly slowly, with a steady trickle of customers starting to head back to those establishments which had chosen to open their doors.
Although images of queues outside some city centre pubs were shared widely online, people who visited the area reported that in many areas, the demand for barber shops was higher than the demand for bars.
Strict new social distancing and infection control measures were in place with the Government insisting on one-way systems, PPE and contact tracing measures wherever service had been resumed.