‘Let’s hope a brighter future is in store for the Great British pub’ - Pontefract pub landlords look forward to reopening

Pubs and bars in Pontefract have welcomed the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as lockdown restrictions are set to ease.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:30 pm
Alex McHale at Mauds

Beer gardens and outside dining at cafes and restaurants can resume on April 12.

Customers will have to be seated but there will be no need to have a meal with alcohol and no curfew has been set.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic.

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Scott Wilson at the Liquorice Bush

Alex McHale, the owner of Mauds Cafe in Pontefract welcomed the prospect of reopening but said a lot of care still needed to be taken so venues are not forced to close again.

He said: “I think the roadmap is realistic considering how the numbers are going. I’d rather hang on for another few months and let the numbers hopefully disappear.

“The fear is always opening up and having to close again. Nobody wants that, including us.

“The government seemed to have taken a more sensible approach and being much more realistic with timescales, which I liked.

“We just need everyone not to get too ahead of ourselves and really knuckle down and keep safe and sensible for the next few weeks and months, then we can really enjoy a great summer and move onto the greatest goal of all – seeing the back of this awful virus!”

Scott Wilson owns Beastfair Vaults and the Liquorice Bush in Pontefract.

He said: “I think the plan, if executed is a great way to lead us out of the lockdown.

“However the opening of pubs, for outdoor only, could prove problematic for some pubs, 75 per cent of UK pubs have outdoor space, but only around 40 per cent could actually open and make it financially viable.

“The June 21 date is something to look forward to, and hopefully we can all get back to doing what we love, and seeing our venues full again.

“The hospitality industry has been the hardest hit, and has suffered greatly due to all the restrictions placed on us. Let’s just hope that a much brighter future is in store for one of Britain’s greatest institutions – the Great British Pub.”

Four key tests will have to be met as each stage of measures are lifted.

They are – the success of the mass vaccination programme, the reduction of hospital admissions and deaths, the dropping off of infection rates, and that there are no new Covid variants in the country that are causing concern.