03:28PM, Thursday 08 April 2021
Jake Reilly of The Corner Ale & Cider House Pub
Publicans and restaurateurs have said they ‘can’t wait’ to get back in the saddle and start hosting guests again from April 12.
From this date, visitors will be allowed to sit in a group of six per table outdoors.
As before, customers will not be able to stand around in groups outside but must be sat at a table and cannot go to the counter to order.
For pubs, gone is the 10pm or 11pm curfew and the ‘substantial meals’ rule, allowing customers to head out just for a drink.
Many Windsor venues in the town centre have limited outdoor seating.
The Corner Ale & Cider House Pub in Sheet Street is fortunate that it has a roof terrace of nine tables with umbrellas and some heaters, with a capacity of 52 people.
It is already nearly fully booked, with each table booked on a two-hour slot.
“We’d love to let people stay all day, but it’s just not profitable to do that,” said Jake Reilly, general manager.
“We can’t wait to reopen, even though we’ve had a year of not operating how we’d like, having to limit interactions at tables.
“I’d have liked to have seen pubs indoor spaces reopen at the same time as shops. I understand why [the Government] didn’t do that, people do behave differently when they’ve had a drink, but it would be nice if there was more trust in hospitality workers.
He added that some of the rules were not enforceable – for example, the ability to be in groups of more than six across two households only, to accommodate large families.
“We’ve got a disclaimer saying we’ll take a customer’s word for it – otherwise we’ll have staff acting as door staff checking people’s addresses and we don’t want that. It’s just not that hospitable.”
The Swan in Clewer is just finishing up with some renovations it completed while pubs were closed and is clearing up its pub garden this weekend out ready for guests on Monday.
With gazebo covering it has a capacity of 80 people outdoors.
“It puts us in a good position compared to other pubs,” said Anne Tebbatt, chair of Friends of the Swan group.
The Swan has decided only to have 50 per cent of its tables bookable and the rest flexible.
“That lets people make a last-minute decision – the weather’s nice, so we’ll go to the pub – as opposed to thinking ‘Oh, the weather’s nice but we can’t go out because we haven’t booked,’” said Anne.
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