‘It was really good to be back’: Bosses and customers react to Havering pubs reopening
- Credit: Ellie Hoskins
“It was really good to be back.” Havering’s pubs reopened for the first time in months and pubgoers rejoiced at being able to return.
Many of the borough’s pubs welcomed customers once more over the weekend, as part of the latest phase of the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
Among those returning for a drink was Susan Doherty, who visited the Upminster TapRoom with her partner Di Jeffreys.
They normally go there once a week and the Upminster resident said she felt really safe during their visit.
Measures put in place included a hand sanitising station and protective screens around tables.
Susan said: “It was nice to talk to people we have not seen for ages. It was really nice to get back out there again.
“I did not feel at all worried. It was really good to be back.”
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Bailey King went to the Old White Horse, in North Ockendon, on Saturday with three of his friends and they enjoyed their drinks in the pub garden.
The South Ockendon resident said: “Not all of us wanted to go out at first but I was keen to go back. Obviously the garden was open so we were mostly in there.
“They had sanitisers in there and were following the new rules. It was good to mingle with friends and to finally get back to the pub.”
The pub’s owner Clive Moseley revealed that the weekend was “quieter than we thought”. He had put signs up and introduced a one-way system around the pub to ensure people’s safety.
He said: “It was not bad. We had quite a few down the garden but it kept raining every now and again.”
The pub introduced a takeaway service during lockdown and Clive said it took more from takeaway beer sales than when it was previously open. Takeaway meals such as fish and chips have also proved very popular, he added.
Another place to open up was The Optimist Tavern, in Upminster, which is part of the Ember Inns chain.
Manager Lynsay Wood said it was fully booked on Saturday and admitted preparations to be Covid-secure had been “a walk in the park”.
The measures included sanitising stations and people being advised to order using an app.
She added: “You kind of just take it in your stride and get on with it, there is no point getting stressed about it. It’s life isn’t it?”