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