Cheers! Ipswich pubs and restaurants welcome first indoor guests of 2021

Denise Cuckow and Alison Thompson enjoying lunch at The Greyhound on the first day of restriction ea

Denise Cuckow and Alison Thompson enjoying lunch at The Greyhound on the first day of restriction easing. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich pubs, restaurants and cafes have said it was "fantastic" to welcome their first indoor customers of 2021 as the Covid lockdown eased.

Publicans and business owners have said the reopening represents "some form of normality" as England moved to step three of the Government's roadmap out of restrictions on Monday.

Liz Kemp, Rosie Southgate, Rosie Kelly and Gina Everett meeting up at Isaacs for the first time sinc

Liz Kemp, Rosie Southgate, Rosie Kelly and Gina Everett meeting up at Isaacs for the first time since September. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hospitality venues are still operating under strict guidelines, as the 'rule of six' on social gatherings is in place and masks must be worn by customers when not seated.

Steve Johnson, Leighton Hammett and Darrin Tompkins enjoying a drink together inside Isaacs for the

Steve Johnson, Leighton Hammett and Darrin Tompkins enjoying a drink together inside Isaacs in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Dan Lightfoot, who manages the Greyhound in Henley Road, said his pub is only operating at 70% capacity and he was looking ahead to the expected lifting of restrictions next month.

Richard Parry, Jackie Reeves and Teresa Parry enjoying their first lunch indoors at the Greyhound

Richard Parry, Jackie Reeves and Teresa Parry enjoying their first lunch indoors at the Greyhound - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He said: "It's great to be back open. We've had to take out 30% of our tables and we can't have people standing around.

Dan Lightfoot, landlord of the Greyhound in Ipswich

Dan Lightfoot, landlord of the Greyhound in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"We're still not going to running at maximum capacity. We are looking forward to June 21."

Director of Isaacs, Nathaniel Coughlan, said he was pleased to welcome indoor customers again - but said the "classic British pub experience" has not yet returned.

Jim Moore and Craig Snelling enjoying a pint indoors at the Greyhound pub

Jim Moore and Craig Snelling enjoying a pint indoors at the Greyhound pub - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown


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He said: "We are very pleased to be back open. We're looking forward to some form of normality, but we will still be following the guidelines.

"We are still at limited capacity - it isn't going to be that classic British pub experience.

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"Some people are hoping to be back shoulder to shoulder at a pub, but we're not there yet."

Hannah Harper, supervisor at Applaud Coffee in St Peter's Street, said she witnessed a "heart-warming" moment as a family reunited at the café on Monday.

Hannah Harper, supervisor at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich's St Peter's Street

Hannah Harper, supervisor at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich's St Peter's Street - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

She said: "It's been way better than expected today. We have had so much support - we've been blown away really.

"It's taken a little bit of work over the weekend to get ready for today but we were pretty much there.

"It's been really helpful to have indoor seating. We have some covered seating outside which helped us in those eat out days.

"We've had that true British spirit when everyone's come and it's freezing cold.

"But it's not the same as sitting inside, across from a family member in the warm, having a cup of coffee.

"We saw an extended family come today and eat together - it was just really heart-warming."

And Julien Jourdain, who owns Bistro on the Quay on the Waterfront, said: "We're really excited to be open. 

Julien Jourdain, who owns Bistro on the Quay on Ipswich Waterfront

Julien Jourdain, who owns Bistro on the Quay on Ipswich Waterfront - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

"To get customers to come down, choose their wine and sit down, really enjoy the view and be a little bit in the warm is fantastic.

"We did reopen al fresco and it went well for two weeks - then we had the rain.

"There's been a lot of planning and health and safety measures that we had to put in place."

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