Take this Next Step Safely and Kindly

Take this next step safely and kindly to help your favourite pubs and restaurants in Newbury remain open

From Monday 12th April, Newbury’s pubs and restaurants can finally begin to welcome their customers back with open arms. Some have been closed for more than 5 months since the beginning of November, and others since West Berkshire’s move into Tier 3 before Christmas. In fact, it’s been so long that it’s hard to recall exactly what pandemic pub-life is like and what punters can and can’t do in this covid world.

Those rushing out to enjoy an al-fresco pint or a spot of dinner in the spring sunshine will yet again find a very different experience from the norm waiting for them.

Newbury’s landlords and restaurateurs have put in a huge amount of effort to prepare for their long-awaited reopening, meticulously following guidelines to ensure their customers stay safe. They can’t wait to welcome back their regulars and newcomers, whilst being anxious to ensure the public understand the part they must play in keeping everyone safe.

If guidelines are breached, licensed premises may be forced to close again, and may never reopen.

In Step 2 from Monday, hospitality venues can open for outdoor service only. Many of Newbury’s pubs and restaurants are wiping down their outdoor furniture and putting up their parasols to provide pavement cafes and outdoor seating areas for their customers to enjoy. You can find out more about the town centre venues which are opening here.

Planning ahead will be key for those heading into town, with many venues taking advance bookings for their outdoor seating, especially at weekends. At all venues which are licensed to serve alcohol, customers must be seated to order, eat, drink, and pay, even if only soft drinks are being consumed. The venue’s toilets, baby changing facilities and breastfeeding rooms can be used, and face coverings must be worn when entering the premises for these purposes.

As before, venues must comply with Test & Trace requirements, although this time every person aged 16 or over will need to provide their details, rather than one person from each group. This can be done by scanning the venue’s QR code with the NHS app or by using the venue’s alternative method of taking contact details. Venues are required to refuse entry to anyone who won’t leave their contact details.

In line with the current social contact guidelines, pubs and restaurants will only be able to accommodate groups of up to 6 people or two households. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced, with all venues maintaining 2 metres between tables where possible, or 1 metre plus other mitigating factors, such as back-to-back seating, where 2 metres isn’t possible.

Alison Drummond, Newbury BID’s Operations Manager, explains,

“We have been working closely with Thames Valley Police, West Berkshire Council’s Public Protection Partnership, Newbury Town Council, and the licensees of Newbury’s pubs and restaurants to plan the safe reopening of Newbury’s hospitality industry. Police, Environmental Health and Licensing Officers will continue to work with landlords and restaurant managers, to carry out visits, and make sure all guidelines are being complied with.

We want to reassure the public that is safe to come together to drink and dine in the town centre, and we hope everyone approaches the reopening with a sense of kindness, understanding, and shared social responsibility. If people fail to comply with the guidelines, venues may be forced to close again and it could spell the end for some of Newbury’s much-loved pubs and restaurants. Let’s take this next step safely and kindly and work together to help Newbury recover and thrive again.”

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