'It should be excellent' - South Tyneside pubs and cafes thrilled to welcome back customers on April 12
Hospitality businesses across South Tyneside are looking forward to opening their doors to customers today as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Pubs, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues can open for outdoor service, non-essential shops can reopen, as can hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms, pools and outdoor attractions.
The Marsden Inn, in South Shields is among the pubs which have invested in outdoor seating areas ahead of April 12, a date which marks a major milestone in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
“We have invested £125,000 into the pub, with a full refurbishment inside,” he said.
"Outside, we have 20-odd tables so it should be excellent, but we’ll just see how it goes.
"People can just turn up and it will be first-come-first-served.
"We’ll be open from 9am for breakfast until late, weather depending!”
Michael said although staff were ‘apprehensive’ about returning to work with the new Government restrictions in place, the team was looking forward to seeing customers once again.
Food will be served throughout the day and table service will be in place along with contactless payments, although cash is accepted.
From Tuesday, April 13, a marquee will also be erected over the outdoor area.
Throughout the pandemic the Marsden Inn has backed a number of charity initiatives in an effort to support the community.
At Christmas Michael launched a campaign; ‘Sharing is Caring’ and turned the pub into a drop-off point for small gifts and essentials which went on to be donated to some of the most vulnerable people in the borough.
An appeal at Easter also saw the venue collect Easter eggs which were donated to those in need through People’s Angels CIC.
Hive Coffee Company, off Church Bank in Jarrow, has been operating a popular takeaway service throughout lockdown, but will also be reopening its outdoor seating area once again.
No reservations are required for their outdoor picnic benches from April 12 and people can simply turn up to order and follow the one-way system in place.
However in an effort to reduce queues, customers can call ahead to pre-order their food and drinks.
The toilets will also be open but table service is not in operation – people can use the benches for consuming takeaways.
Sarah said: “Everyone is very eager to get back to some sort of normality.
"Lockdown has been challenging but we have taken it in our stride.
"We have been one of the few places in the area that have managed to open throughout and we have a good way of operating now.
"It means a lot to have the support of our customers.
"We are very grateful and we couldn’t do it without them.”
Among outdoor attractions opening are the Ocean Beach Pleasure Park at South Shields seafront, and Jarrow Hall’s Anglo-Saxon farm and village, which opens tomorrow, April 13.
Leaders have, however, urged people to ‘enjoy their new freedom’s responsibly’ with social-distancing and other restrictions remaining in place as the pandemic continues.
The next roadmap date is May 17, when indoor hospitality and entertainment is expected to be permitted.