The Hedworth Hall on Dean Road, South Shields, is fully booked ahead of England’s historic Euro 2020 clash with Italy on Sunday with around 200 people set to cheer the country on to victory.
The tournament has provided a much-needed boost in trade for the venue, but as the final comes ahead of all restrictions being lifted on July 19, staff are still having to work hard to follow the Covid guidelines in place.
Lisa Nightingale, Hedworth Hall’s functions and venue manager, said: “The football has been a welcome boost to our venue – especially as we are primarily function-led.
Man in life-threatening condition after 'serious collision' involving car and pedestrian in South Shields
Appeal to find owner of lost Labrador after dog found near Jarrow Cemetery
Developers bid to add extra floor to former sports bar in bid to 'modernise' vacant building for housing scheme
Campaigners rally against Local Plan after farmland in Cleadon earmarked for 156 homes
South Tyneside weather: Here is the forecast for the borough for the week ahead
"It is disappointing that we can't operate at full capacity due to the restrictions around Covid, but despite this, there has been a fantastic atmosphere with every game England has played.
“We are fully booked for Sunday's game – which at just under 200 people, seated throughout the first floor of the building, is nowhere near the numbers we would have been able to accommodate if things were “normal.”
"It has also been a bit of a balancing act, ensuring numbers do not overwhelm staff, in order that they are able to serve customers in a timely manner.”
But Lisa couldn’t praise match-day customers enough for their support and patience during such a challenging time for the hospitality trade.
As the venue looks forward to the England final, Lisa said: “Working the games, with table service, has been hard and tiring work for my staff, who have been exceptional, given the circumstances.
"But it has been such an enjoyable experience for us all and that is largely down to our customers, many who have joined us from the first game of England's journey to the final.
"Their patience when we have been busy and the respect they have shown to the staff has been second to none – we really can't thank them enough.”