Romford venues prepare to reopen on May 17
- Credit: Romford Greyhound Stadium
Many Romford venues are racing to get ready for May 17, when indoor hospitality and larger venues will be allowed to reopen.
The Bull pub in Market Place is one of many venues excited to reopen on May 17, five months after closing its doors on December 12.
Manager Tina Donno is busy making sure the pub is ready to welcome back guests, and has had the walls freshly painted.
“We have a lovely, safe and homely pub and we’re very excited to welcome our regulars back," she said.
Tina explained that opening the pub’s small courtyard in April was not viable, and instead she had chosen to wait until customers were allowed to sit inside.
She said: “Let’s hope we slip back into normality soon.
“For some youngsters who have just turned 18, this will be their first time enjoying pub culture.
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The manager, who has worked in pubs for 38 years, stressed many regulars are elderly and live alone, so they rely on the pub for socialising and to be in contact with people.
“I’ve got people who come in as soon as we open, plonk themselves down at a table and spend the day calling across to each other,” she said.
She added: “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people we won’t see when we open because we lost them along the way.”
Tina urged people to book their tables in advance and to drink responsibly.
The Bull will be open from 11am to 10.30pm during the week, and 11pm at weekends.
Romford's Vue and Premiere cinemas will also be reopening as part of the government's stage three of the lockdown easing roadmap.
General manager of Vue Romford, Daniel Surridge, said in a year marked by restrictions on people's lives, "the importance of escapism has never been stronger".
Additionally, Romford Greyhound Stadium is getting ready to reopen its doors and has set up a new website for people to watch races and book their seats.
Stadium manager Karen McMillan explained they would be welcoming back up to 400 guests, less than a quarter of pre-pandemic numbers, which saw between 1,400 and 1,500 people attending races on Friday and Saturday nights.
The stadium's Paddock Restaurant restaurant is already fully booked for the first weekend back, and Karen hopes people will continue to book races.
She said: “We were a bit worried but we’ve had a great take-up, and people have been calling and booking online.
“I’ve already had people wanting to book large groups and parties, but these can only be pencilled in,” she added.
Karen stressed she will be following government guidelines and will only allow tables of six or two households into the restaurant.