‘It is a learning curve for everyone’ says bar owner after putting in extra social distancing measures
PUBLISHED: 09:11 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:34 10 August 2020
Fears about a lack of social distancing at pubs across Suffolk were allayed as owners put in extra measures to keep people safe during the hot weather.
There were concerns beer gardens and outside drinking areas could be even busier this weekend as temperatures soared, and on Friday an appeal was made to those heading out to respect social distancing measures in order to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said: “The last four and a half months have been tough for everyone and I can well understand people wanting to go out and enjoy themselves after making sacrifices since March.
“Suffolk has been extremely good in doing what it has been asked to do during that time. However, we must not be complacent. Covid-19 has not gone away.”
It came on the back of issues the previous weekend where crowds were seen gathered outside bars in Ipswich town centre.
However, the situation is much improved, according to Callum Hewett, owner of Ipswich’s Aurora bar and restaurant.
He said: “I felt this weekend was good. We had more door staff on, we had a new queuing system, and we now have an outside bar which reduces congestion inside. We have introduced timed slots for our indoor area which people can book.
“It is working really well. The police came down, as they always do, and were pleased with what we were doing.”
One neighbour reported seeing large numbers queuing for the popular night spot, but Mr Hewett refuted that claim, explaining that they now operate a dual queuing system - one for the restaurant and another for the bar.
He added: “People are coming out and being responsible.”
Mr Hewett admitted it had been a challenge introducing social distancing but said it was one they had risen to.
“Essentially this has been a learning curve for all bars. We reopened in the middle of summer which is always busy, and there will always be lessons to learn, always things we can do better.”
Mr Hewett said that using more of the pavement area would allow them to space drinkers out further, helping keep staff and customers even safer.
Elsewhere, drinkers reported being turned away from New York Exchange Bar, which was reportedly busy.
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