Great Britain

"It's been a long time coming" - Pubs prepare beer gardens for outdoor service next month

BEER GARDENS are being tidied up across East Lancashire as pubs will be able to serve outside in April as lockdown eases.

The roadmap out of lockdown will see outdoor service allowed in pubs across the country from as early as April 12 if the four contingency markers have been hit.

In East Lancashire, there are plenty of pubs with large beers gardens, with many planning to open their outdoor area to get staff back to work and money coming into the business again.

The Clog and Billycock in Pleasington will be opening their terrace area and beer garden for customers, which will seat up to 65 people in socially distanced groups.

Manager Lloyd Bennett is excited to re-open the doors and bring staff back to work for the first time since November.

He said: "Hopefully the weather will be nicer so it will be the perfect opportunity to open and get some trade through the door.

"Obviously my staff and myself haven't been working since November so it's for us as well as the customers."

"If that's the only way I can service people I want it to be looking tip top."

Lloyd has said they are currently conducting general maintenance and gardening to make sure that the outside area is fully fit for service as of next month.

In Oswaldtwistle, Beth Lancaster, landlady and manager of the Rhoden Inn has been organising a space for outdoor tables to welcome her eager customers back next month.

Beth said: "It's been a long time coming. It's been hard, it's been really hard but it's going to be so nice to see everybody and see that we are getting back to how we should be.

"People have booked the 12th and 13th off work so they are very excited. It's good to see that the customers are wanting it just as much as we are."

The pub is wet led and has been closed since October last year due to tier three restrictions which were introduced in the county.

Beth has put eight benches and two tables outside the pub to serve her customers when they are able to return.

The Whitakers Arms in Accrington will also be welcoming their customers back in April to the beer garden which seats up to 75 people, with 50 of the seats under a marquee which the pub has invested in.

Operations manager Rachel Whipp said: "We are excited for the 12th [April], whether it will happen or not, obviously we are a bit dubious about it but we hope it is going to happen.

"Obviously it is a bit worrying for us as well because we don't know what the weather is going to be like but we are going to put everything in place so that we can re-open."

The roadmap will see pubs and restaurants be able to open outdoor areas from April 12 at the earliest, with non essential retail and personal care also able to resume services at this point.

From May 17, at the earliest, hospitality will be able to re-open indoors, however restrictions will remain in place until phase four which, it is hoped, will be introduced on June 21.

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