‘Anything to restore normality’ - South Tyneside pubs give thumbs up to Government’s new Covid rules
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said masks would no longer be compulsory indoors from Monday, July 19.
From then standing is once again permitted and musical entertainment can take place, table service and venue check-ins will no longer be necessary and the rule-of-six will also be dropped.
The move has been welcomed by pub bosses in the area, who say they believe it will be a boost for their industry which has suffered much in the last 16 months.
Lesley Hunter, owner of the Lord Nelson on Monkton Lane, said: “We’re looking forward to it, but we’re getting mixed messages. We can put some tables back, but a lot of people like table service although it’s heavy for the staff.
“How it’s going to pan out after the 19th I’m not sure. It’s going to be interesting. We might try table service as well. It’s going to be a funny one, but I’m 100% looking forward to it.”
Norman Scott, owner of Dougie’s Tavern in Hebburn, said: “The staff wage bill in most pubs must have quadrupled and it’s been very hard work.
“It’s going to be tricky. A lot of people will have difficulty with going back to the local again. We’ll have to put something on to get people in.
“But I think it’s about time. We’ve not been able to do this since March 22 last year. If people still want to wear a mask then let them get on with it. It’s their choice.
“You’ve got to move on. Businesses can’t keep on getting grants and loans. It can’t go on forever.”
Lee Hughes, who runs the Red Hackle on the Scotch Estate, said: “It’s good news. Anything that helps restore some sense of normality.
“It’s been difficult to provide table service and we’ve had to pay for three extra staff because of it. Most customers and great, but there’s been the odd bit of finger clicking.
“One bloke said he was annoyed with Boris Johnson because it’s saved him having to walk to the bar. But it’s one massive step for the hospitality industry.”