South Tyneside pubs tell of happy customers and boosted trade since reopening - but with 'grave worries' over further closures
South Tyneside pub bosses have revealed the highs and lows of life after coronavirus lockdown – with table service a hit and the reopening of schools a possible miss.
They say punters, young and old, are enjoying being waited on hand and foot as trips to the bar are replaced by online table service in some venues.
But the risk of Covid-19 returning to taverns when children start mixing in the classroom from next month is a grave worry.
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Overall, they insist they are rising to the challenge of getting their businesses back on an even keel after the virus-enforced, three-month shutdown.
Lesley Huntley, owner of The Lord Nelson pub, in Monkton Lane, Monkton, Jarrow, said: “We are all having to adapt to this new way of life, it is a challenge.
“We have introduced table service, inside the pub and in the beer garden, and the youngsters are loving it. They say it’s like being abroad.
“They sign in on their phone app and the drinks are brought to them.
"Even some of our older customers are enjoying that change to their usual habits.
“Business isn’t back to normal but we are doing well. What I miss is people standing at the bar and being able to chat to them. I hope that can all return.”
Vic Hanson, boss of The Jolly Sailor at Whitburn, said:
“We are closed between Monday and Wednesday and so haven’t been able to take part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
“We are back in business, which I’m very pleased about, but we are having to be very careful, the last thing I would want is an infection at this pub.
“What worries me is that children are going back to school in two weeks’ time – people are already talking about having to shut pubs and other businesses like takeaways.”
Kath Brain, licensee of The Steamboat, at the Mill Dam, South Shields, said: “Business is going well and people are abiding by the social distancing guidelines.
“We are not seeing quite as many customers as before lockdown, but those who are here are very happy to be back and are happy to abide by the rules.
“If anything, day trade has picked up, and some nights are busier than before. People seem to be spreading their visits out more across the week.”