South Shields pubs, cafes and restaurants welcome customers indoors for first time in 2021

Families and friends have spoken of their joy at reuniting indoors as another step in the Government’s lockdown exit roadmap saw pubs and restaurants begin to fill up again for the first time in months.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 2:03 pm

Shoppers were out in steady numbers along King Street, while midday customers began to fill up some of the town centre’s long-empty public houses.

As one punter outside the Brigham and Cowan social club – which welcomed dozens back for daytime bingo – put it: “It’s just nice to see faces again.”

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Picture at The Wouldhave, South Shields, Christine Barnes, Michelle Anderson and Diane Everett

At the nearby Wetherspoon’s pub, The Wouldhave, doors were open from 8am.

"Not everyone realised we were open at eight today, I don’t think,” said manager Phil Riddle.

"So breakfast was a bit quieter than maybe we'd expected. But it’s been pretty full since, so fingers crossed it stays that way.”

Stephanie Gooding, who was overseeing service at the Clover and Wolf establishment next door, said: "A lot of places are getting a big influx right now, but today’s been more like a breather for us.

Punters return to the Mile End Road Wetherspoon's for midday food and drink (above, left); Stephanie Gooding, manager at the Clover & Woolf establishment (above, right); the Ship & Royal welcomes back customers for the first time in months (below, left); short spells of sunshine and relaxed restrictions brought South Tynesiders out onto King Street this week (below, right).

“We’ve been one of the only places open in South Shields with a large outdoor seating area. So pretty much everyone has been heading here for the last few weeks.

"Hopefully, there’ll be no more obstacles for us now – we really can’t afford to have another lockdown at this point.”

Norman and Joyce Crosby, who spoke to The Gazette while enjoying coffee and fleeting bursts of sunshine outside Charleston’s Coffee House, have both received their two Covid jabs - but they are still apprehensive about returning to indoor hospitality venues.

Andrew McLeod and Leaanne Baker in The Wouldhave, South Shields, on Monday.

"We’ve had to be very careful these last few months,” Mr Crosby said.

“We’ve had a lovely morning walking along by the seafront, past the Little Haven and through the town this morning. But, for now, we’d rather not take any chances and will stick with being outside.”

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Family at The Wouldhave South Shields on Monday.

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Phil Riddle, manager at The Wouldhave South Shields.
Enjoying an indoor pint at The Wouldhave, South Shields Andrew Bell (left) and Kevin Atkinson
Mr and Mrs Crosby, who enjoyed a coffee outside Charleston's as indoor hospitality began to reopen this week, say they are still concerned about the India variant of Covid.
Billy and Deborah Carruthers