Bradford pubs prepare to pour their first post-lockdown…

Bradford pubs prepare to pour their first post-lockdown pints

IT is almost time for pubs across the district to start pouring pints again as lockdown restrictions are eased – and while some are “raring to go” others say the rules are “not clear”.

From Saturday, July 4, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers can begin trading again with precautionary social distancing measures in place such as clear screens and booking systems.

Many business owners are feeling ready to re-open tomorrow after spending the past week ordering PPE, removing tables and chairs and working out their own system.

One of those people is Rob Dalewicz, owner of 99 & Main in Bingley, who has taken away eight tables to keep 2m between drinkers.

“You have to start somewhere,” Mr Dalewicz said.

“The team are raring to go. They’re missing guests because we’ve got a really nice social thing going.

“The cost of these perspex screens have gone through the roof. We’re following the guidelines religiously. All the team have got certificates that they have been on courses to handle the coronavirus.

“The only thing we have found difficult is not necessarily the guidance it’s getting the equipment and the cost of the equipment to protect the bar. It’s running to hundreds and hundreds of pounds.

“We’re having this Saturday as a trial day to see how the booking works, how the team operate and upon receiving that data and upon how much we take that will form the basis of conversations on Monday and we’ll roll out our future opening times.

“That’s what life is going to be like after lockdown.”

Similarly David Shipley, who owns Q Gardens in Odsal, has spent “thousands” to make sure the best measures are in place.

Q Gardens is due to re-open tomorrow – though the snooker hall and pool tables will be off limits until they are given the green light.

The venue has put a number of measures in place ahead of the further easing of lockdown measures to keep staff and customers safe.

The venue will operate on a table service basis, there’ll be a one-way system, the wearing of masks and people will be helped to ensure they are social distancing.

He said: “It’s hard to know how people are going to react. We’ve invested thousands of pounds in making customers and staff safe, to feel confident being there.

“I think customers will appreciate somebody, like us, who’s really gone to town and done everything we possibly can.”

Meanwhile Barry Buck, who manages Wetherspoons branch The Turls Green in Bradford, revealed a number of precautionary measures.

This includes fresh cups for coffee refills, one staff member at a time at the bar, more orders via the Wetherspoons app and screens between tables.

But there appears to be a divide between the owners who feel comfortable opening up and those who feel it is too much of a risk. There had been fears that Bradford could re-enter a second lockdown similar to the one seen in Leicester.

Peter Down, chair of Bradford CAMRA, said he hoped a second lockdown would not happen, given that Bradford is quite a way behind Leicester, and warned many might not “survive” another.

He said: “If we do, then obviously it’s going to hit everybody very hard.

“The first lockdown has already hit pubs hard. They were looking at where if they did not get open in July, many of them were saying they might not survive.”

Among those choosing to remain closed was Sunbridge Wells – who felt it was “too early” – and The Record Café, who will review the situation weekly.

The Fox in Shipley said: “The Fox will NOT now reopen on Saturday 4th July. The situation regarding the increasing local infection rate, has made us re-assess the wisdom of opening up on a Saturday after lockdown.”

While others such as the The Terrace Cafe Bar & Bistro in Shipley is aiming to reopen later on August 1.

Yvonne Geldard from The Terrace explained: “We have decided we’re not opening. With Bradford being in the spotlight, we think it would be irresponsible and to push it back till August 1.

“We were going to go for it but we just thought we’ve been watching the news following it quite closely and the guidelines are not clear enough. It’s kind of been described as ‘wooly’ and that’s exactly what it is. It’s not law.

“I don’t want to ask people for their address or driving licence if they want to come for a beer or a sandwich. We just thought we’d give it another few weeks.”

Ishfaq Farooq, one of the directors of Bradford restaurant chain MyLahore said that in the light of concerns over the increased infection rate in the district, they would reduce the number of diners further when they open back up this weekend.

The director explained: “We had originally been working on the basis of reducing the covers by around 40 per cent – that was when the social distancing rule was two metres. But after it was announced that the rule would drop to one metre, we decided to slightly increase the number of covers – meaning around 20 per cent down on usual. The last thing we want to do is get people together and risk spreading the infection further – that’s why we’ve decided to increase the distance between tables again.”