“It was very difficult” – the pubs had a mixed success imposing social distancing on the “Super Saturday”

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Pubs in a Lincolnshire town say they had mixed fortunes trying to keep customers in check from their first day back in business.People were allowed to return to pubs, restaurants and cafes for the first time since late March on Saturday July 4, after the government eased the lockout restrictions.

There had been concerns among publicans who reopened on a Saturday could cause problems in trying to ensure that people maintain a social distance.

Two Sleaford pubs said they were more or less successful in trying to do it.

Lucy Darmon, owner of The Grapes in Southgate, said she was surprised at the difficulty of separating people, even with considerably reduced capacity inside the premises.

“We had three or four tables occupied throughout the day, so I went for a short break around 5:00 pm,” she said.

“I received a call at 6:15 p.m. from staff saying that they were having trouble keeping people coming in.

“We had to call the porter two hours earlier. ”

The 40-year-old actress said she thought “good humor” was right for many people who decided to have a drink.

“It was very difficult – people were in a good mood and they hadn’t seen their family and friends,” she said.

“We hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to keep them from kissing. We tried to encourage them not to do it.

“We had a table in six that said they all came from the same house at the university, and although that may be true, it is very difficult to find out. “



The grapes stopped serving people outside later in the evening

She added that there were problems later in the evening when many other pubs closed earlier than normal.

“Young people have adopted this culture of going out later after first drinking at home,” she said.

“But at that time, we stopped serving and the taxis stopped working. With the nightclub closed and the other places closed, we were the only place to go.

“It happened at the stage where more and more people started to gather outside. We stopped and made the decision to close early because it was not safe to stay open.

“We closed around 10:15 pm – it was a difficult decision for us as we tend to do a lot of our trading later in the evening until 2:00 am, but we have to keep people safe.

“We have a meeting with the staff today to review what happened yesterday and see how we can improve it. ”

Donna Wells, who runs the Barge and Bottle pub with her husband Mick, said they had seen fewer problems than The Grapes.

“We served table service inside and out – there was no bar service,” she said.

“People were very respectful. They had to check in on arrival and use hand sanitizer and everyone did.

“At one point we had a table of kids trying to put an extra person on their table, but we explained the rules to them and they were really good at it. ”

“We were very firm from the moment they entered. I think people have understood that everything is not optional if they want to enter. “



The barge and the bottle had people sitting outside

Donna said she was busy throughout the day, with her staff regularly pushing people out because they were at full capacity.

“I know some places have two hours on the tables, but we didn’t, we weren’t going to take people off their tables,” she said.

“I would say that every 15 minutes repelled people – there were hundreds of them throughout the day.

“We had areas that we didn’t use, but we didn’t want to use them. We didn’t think it was right for the staff – we want to keep it safe and manageable.

“We called the last orders at 9:30 pm – we didn’t want people to get drunk and forget the directions. ”

Unfortunately, there were disreputable scenes in the city later that evening when police and paramedics were called to Southgate.

A Lincolnshire police spokesman said, “We attended a security concern in which a man was found unconscious in Southgate last night around 10pm.

“He was assessed by paramedics and released soon after. “

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