South Shields pub boss welcomes roadmap out of Lockdown 3 and reveals when he plans to reopen

A South Shields pub owner has tentatively welcomed the measures included in the Government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’.

Stephen Sullivan, who owns Ziggy’s Bar in South Shields, says he is broadly satisfied with the ‘reasonable’ Lockdown 3 exit plan, which ‘errs on the side of caution’.

He and a number of other pub bosses in the area had urged caution ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech to Parliament, pointing to a rushed reopening of hospitality venues last July and months of local lockdowns in the region subsequently.

Ziggy's Bar landlord, Stephen Sullivan, at an Armstrong Hall meeting of borough pub landlords towards the end of last year

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He now says, following the Government’s tentative exit plan announcement, that he is confident he will be able to reopen his business in a safe and controlled way going into the summer months.

“I think the plan the Government has set out is reasonable,” he said.

"I think it does err on the side of caution. I think if people stick to the rules, with five weeks between each step, and hopefully most people vaccinated by June, we should be okay.”

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Mr Sullivan said, however, that he would not reopen his establishment in April, since outdoor service alone would not be financially viable for his business.

“I won’t be reopening once outdoor service is allowed again. We're not that kind of venue and people don't want to sit outside on a concrete square.

"We’ve got the seafront there and plenty of great bars that can work with outdoor service. So I’d like to see those bars reopening at that point and working to ‘phase in’ the town, as it were.

"We need the rule of six as a minimum and no curfew in order to reopen properly – I’ve been asking for this all along. So it won’t be until May for us.

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"There are still a number of variables – Shields was not booming prior to the pandemic.

"But it’s great that we have these dates to plan ahead for, since this is something we haven’t been able to do in the past with this Government.”

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