Hackney pubs and restaurants reopen offering a new socially distanced way of socialising
- Credit: Three Compasses Dalston
Many pubs and restaurants in Hackney have reopened after months of shut down due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Pub and restaurant owners welcomed back customers on July 4, inviting them to experience “a new, socially-distanced, way of socialising”.
Businesses which have opened their doors must make sure they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers safe. A “new normal” within the hospitality industry means table-service only indoors, contactless ordering apps, capacity monitoring and “1 metre-plus” social distancing.
Lauren Johns, landlady at Three Compasses Dalston said: “The reopening went great. We were fully booked all day, and everyone was very excited and appreciative to be back in a pub!
“We didn’t allow any standing and all of the tables were at least 1 metre apart or separated by Perspex screens which were almost invisible so didn’t affect the vibe.”
Under government guidance, Three Compasses Dalston has introduced a one-way system and socially distanced queuing to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus.
The landlady told the Gazette: “Guests were happy to follow the new ‘house rules’ and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their first pints and Filthy Buns since we closed the pub back in March.”
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Pub-goers will likely have to book a table in advance before visiting their local and pubs and restaurants are now required to keep a record of customer details for a period of 21 days to assist NHS test and trace efforts.
Live music is no longer allowed and guidance discourages activities which could lead to raised voices or shouting.
Rob Star, the owner of The Star by Hackney Downs, said July 4 was a busy day but people were “very respectful” of the new rules.
“We had an increase in advanced bookings as people wanted to secure a table inside the pub [and] we have a new app that has been developed so people can order and pay at their table which our customers really liked using.”
The pub owner says they are running at a reduced capacity and decided to close at 11pm on the weekends.
He told the Gazette: “This has negatively affected our takings, but it’s just great to be back open and helping people to get back to a normal way of life.
“Hopefully, with the measures we have in place people will feel confident to support their local.”
The Pembury Tavern in Hackney Downs also reopened on July 4 at a capacity of about half of what is was before lockdown.
Ed Mason, co-founder of The Five Points Brewing Company, which owns The Pembury Tavern, said: “Despite being half as busy as usual, we still had a lovely atmosphere, and all customers were respectful to both staff and to their fellow drinkers.
“It is going to remain challenging from a financial perspective, running the pub at only half capacity, with increased costs in terms of additional staff and security and so on – but it’s a sign of a return to a new normality, and hopefully light at the end of the tunnel.”
Restaurants must follow similar precautions to pubs. They can no longer provide communal ketchup bottles and other condiments unless disposable or staff clean containers after each use.
However, some businesses like the Thai restaurant Yum Yum in Stoke Newington have decided not to reopen yet.
Owner Atique Chowdry believes the government might be easing restrictions too soon, particularly in light of a recent second wave in Israel and the ordering of second local lockdowns in Spain.
He told the Gazette: “What I’m going to do is wait, watch and see how it pans out - and hopefully the other restaurants which have opened up will do really well.
“We need to support the smaller restaurants and we need to make sure they survive, otherwise it will be a real difficult situation for the high streets and all the other associated businesses – this is a real struggle and we’ve never faced anything like it.”
Atique also worries about the safety of his customers and staff
He is also concerned about what happens to the restaurant he has been running forty years if someone eating there contracts the disease.
The restaurant owner says an outbreak would lead to the temporary closure of his restaurant and a loss of earnings.
With a successful delivery and take-away service already set up he plans to continue offering Yum Yum meals to its “very loyal customer base” in the most socially distanced way possible.
Atique said: “To dine in a relaxed environment - that’s what we offer. I don’t want my customers to come in and feel anything different.”
“Were open for takeaway and delivery and we’re getting good support from our customers who have been with us – some for 2 generations.”
For more information about government guidance on restaurants reopening click here.
To book a table at The Star by Hackney Downs click here
To book a table at Three Compasses Dalston click here
For more information on Yum Yum restaurant or to order online visit www.yumyumthain16.co.uk/
Visit http://pemburytavern.co.uk/ to book a table at the Pembury Tavern