Some pubs open, others await ‘nearer to normal’

MANY pubs that do not serve food were not ready to reopen on Monday due to short notice and lack of stock.

Red Lion Licensee, Stephen Hill. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28326902)
Red Lion Licensee, Stephen Hill. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28326902)

They were forced to close on 20 March under lockdown measures, but as the island entered phase four on Monday some became the first in the British Isles to be able to accept customers.

Cock and Bull licensee Stephen Taylor said they were waiting until it was nearer to normal before serving again.

‘I think many pubs await phase five. Friday’s announcement came as a shock. Opening yesterday [Monday] would have been impossible and there are no Guinness kegs in Guernsey until mid-July. We closed down with no notice so had to destroy stock, which wasn’t covered by our insurance policy.

‘People go to the pub to socialise, drink with friends, and meet people you didn’t expect to see. At present you can invite your friends round to do that. With restrictions you can’t socialise between tables, and people can’t come in if it’s full, which changes the atmosphere.’

Plough Inn licensee Richard Skipper said: ‘We haven’t opened as it was short notice. I’m hoping for a soft opening on Sunday, but as a very small pub we have to be really careful. There is a will and a way. Quite a few pubs aren’t open but enough are for people to go to.’

The Golden Lion opened from 4pm on Monday, taking card payments only and implementing social distancing.

Premises that served food had been allowed to open from Saturday. The Red Lion was one of those. Licensee Stephen Hill said: ‘The weekend was great and a lovely atmosphere. It’s nice to hear people talking again and have banter after silence for so long. We are encouraged to use our outdoor seating and it is good to be back in action.

‘It was a mad rush, but in a good way after so long at home. Everyone is clued up on the restrictions so it’s been really positive.’

Beedy Bourgaize enjoyed a Guinness in the sun yesterday and said: ‘At home I was watching the same stuff on telly. It’s a shame a lot of pubs are closed but it happened so quickly. I wouldn’t normally be here this time of day but I’m here for the social side. We’ve been lucky with the weather and it was nice to extend our bubbles and see my grandson again. I can’t wait for everything to get back to normal.’

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