Food and drink businesses speak ahead of outdoors areas reopening
PUBLISHED: 17:58 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 July 2020
Residents and businesses are looking forward to pubs and restaurants, cafes and outdoors areas, hairdressers and barbers reopening on Saturday, July 4.
The Plough, a pub in Great Chesterford, closed on March 20 as per government guidelines, when it gave away Mother’s Day roast dinners to the elderly instead of letting food go to waste. Owners Samantha and Simon Cleary spent the last few months refurbishing the pub: “We have done loads of decorating, loads of work in the garden, new fencing, new grass, new benches. We knew that once we open people will need to be outside so we tried to make it look as beautiful as it can and the pub dog, Oscar, has been helping.”
Oscar, who will be three years old on tomorrow, is looking forward to his birthday party on Saturday, when he will be able to do his usual meet and greet for all the dogs coming to the pub.
“It’s like, ‘I will show you where the dog treats are.’”, Simon said, adding: “He does it to every single dog.”
Simon said bookings of up to six people have sometimes been five people and a dog.
The owners have put a lot of safety and hygiene measures in place ahead of hosting up to 140 people in the beer garden and up to 40 people inside the pub.
Simon and Samantha also think their “jewel in the crown” is the pub’s outside bar, where people can queue while socially distancing.
The Plough has a selection of ales and lagers ready, as well as summer salads, and is planning a barbeque this Sunday (July 5), as well as Mexican food Fridays.
The Fox and Hounds in Clavering has also been closed since March, having only reopened at the end of February, after new management took over the pub.
The pub has been running a takeaway service, with Sunday roasts reaching far and wide in Uttlesford towns and villages.
The team has been hard at work to carry out a full refurbishment, and named one of their outdoors seating areas “The Oasis”.
Vicki Hearn, director, said: “We wanted to make the people of Clavering want to come out. It’s been a lot of hard work trying to make everything nice and green.
“I think we have done pretty good to get an outdoors bar for our small village.”
Safety measures the team has been adopting include face shields and the development of an app for ordering food and drinks.
Rory McGoldrick, director, said: “This will assure people that it will be same for them to come to this pub. We have run our plans with Uttlesford District Council and they were really impressed.
“We have adopted a bookings-only policy to manage the capacity and clean the whole site.”
The pub sourced both big sellers’ ales and locally-brewed ones.
“It’s really nice to support local businesses,” Rory said, adding: “We pride ourselves in using local suppliers. For example, all our meat comes from Burton, all our fruits and vegetables come from Berry Best.
“It’s nice to support each other throughout the pandemic.”
Up to 72 people can be accommodated at tables of six and four outdoors, and up 44 people will be allowed inside the pub.
Lesley Elder, owner at Tea Amo in the Saffron Walden town centre, said only the outdoors part of the business will reopen, but their takeaway service will continue.
She said: “We have been very successful; people have been very keen to get coffee.
“We are looking forward to opening our outdoors area. People can sit and watch the world go by. Tea Amo is normally so busy.”
Other businesses, such as hairdressers and barbers are also reopening on Saturday. Traditional Turkish Barbers Morfose have been making bookings through their Facebook page as well as sharing safety updates.
Saffron Walden Town Mayor, Councillor Heather Asker said everyone needs to be aware of the efforts businesses are putting in and support them as “the heart of our town”. The R4U Cllr also praised the Business Improvement District’s help and said the town and district councils are able to offer support.
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