'We can't wait to serve you a pint!' – Burnley pub landlords gearing up for big outdoor re-opening
Burnley landlords are pulling out all the stops as they prepare to welcome back customers for the first time in nearly half-a-year.
Hospitality venues across the borough were forced to close their doors on October 17th when Lancashire was moved into Tier 3 Covid restrictions.
It has been a tough six months for everybody involved in the sector, but Monday marks the start of their roadmap journey with restaurants and pubs given the go-ahead to serve customers outdoors.
Customers must order, eat and drink while seated at a table, but they will not need to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, and there'll be no 10pm curfew.
The rule of six will be in place, although groups of any size are welcome as long as there are no more than two households present.
Venues could be allowed to seat customers indoors from Monday, May 17th – if the roadmap stays on track – with June 21st the date all restrictions will hopefully be lifted.
Justine Lorriman who runs the Royal Dyche in Yorkshire Street, said not even the weather will spoil her Monday re-opening with ponchos for sale in case there are a few April showers.
"I had a staff meeting with all of my team last week and it was like we’d never been away, it was very surreal but so nice seeing them all again. They are all really excited to be coming off furlough and getting back to work, my staff are like family and it’s been hard not seeing them.
"I had originally prepped our re-opening for May. I didn’t expect the Government to give us the green light so soon but I am not complaining!
"We are only opening our outdoor areas but it’s a step in the right direction for us and I am just happy I’ll get to see all my regulars again.
"It should be interesting with the weather. Luckily we have a lot of space under cover and we have been advising customers to dress for the weather.
"We will have plenty of ponchos for sale and umbrellas to hire just in case! It’s been so long since you could enjoy a pint on draught. I honestly think people will come out regardless of the weather. Most of the restrictions will be in place from last year but our customers seemed to just accept them and it made our jobs so much easier.
"I hired a marquee last time we reopened but now I’ve bought one because of how beneficial it was having the extra space. I am sure this will be put to good use on match days too when the football fans are back.
"That’s something else I am really looking forward to, being a season ticket holder myself, it has been strange not having that match day buzz when Burnley are at home.
"This summer should be amazing, all the live music we have on and the Euro’s, I just we continue going forward towards normality again."
The Hare and Hounds in Haggate is another pub that will be re-opening with an extended outdoor seating area.
Landlady Laura Riley said the support received in recent months had been amazing, and she couldn't wait to see people back out enjoying a drink with family and friends.
"We're excited to get re-open and to welcome people back. We've increased the outside seating to accommodate for not being able to use inside at present and are praying for some decent weather now.
"Things are going to be much different than before and we hope people adapt well to the changes and new regulations and can still enjoy a drink with their friends and feel safe whilst on our premises.
"The feedback from customers has been very promising and the local support we've had to get our outdoor area ready has been amazing."
The Park View only re-opened in March last year following a big refurb.
Monday can't come soon enough for staff at the Higgin Street pub where a big marquee – complete with a big screen TV – will help seat an additional 100 people outside.
A spokesperson for the pub said: "We haven't had a proper chance to show everyone what the Park View can do since opening last March so we are very excited for the year ahead.
"We will be following Government guidelines from Monday which means it is table service only and everyone must be seated to be able to have a drink.
"As you may have seen, we have a fantastic outdoor set up and have invested heavily in making sure it will be an enjoyable experience for all.
"We have added an additional 100 seats under a big marquee which will also have a large HD TV screen in so that everyone can keep enjoying their favourite sport while outside!
"Once we fully re- open in May and restrictions ease and hopefully completely go by June, we will as ever offer live sport, live music, pool, darts and events and our outdoor marquee and bar will stay put for the whole of the 21/22 football season which we have everything crossed for and that it will return to normal!
"We are super excited and can't wait to welcome everyone back next Monday!"