'It feels like Christmas' – how regulars feel about getting back to the pub in Sunderland
Pubs in Sunderland have welcomed back their customers after 15 long weeks of lockdown was lifted on Saturday.
Dubbed Super Saturday, the hospitality sector reopened on July 4 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown forced them to close in March.
Every venue that reopened had to put measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, with some even going as far as checking the temperature of customers before they enter.
Customers and staff have now adapted to this ‘new normal’.
Graham Tuckwell, 36, manager of The Old Vestry and The Albert, said his customers stuck to the social distancing measures all weekend.
He said: “It was a really positive weekend, everyone stuck to the rules and our regulars were checking on others to make sure that they were doing the right thing.
“It was a relief to reopen after being closed for so long, now it is all about sustaining the rules and sticking to them.”
He said: “It’s nice to be holding a pint glass again, it feels like Christmas.”
Claire Davison, 55 is the manager of Greens on Low Row, she told us that it was a positive weekend, although social distancing measures mean she is running at a massively reduced capacity.
She explained: “It was really good and everyone embraced the measures that we have put in place.
”I was having to turn people away, our capacity has been reduced from 295 people to 60 but it is still nice getting people through the door.”
Hospital worker Stuart Craig, 56, was the last customer in Greens before the lockdown and was the first one back on Saturday.
He is impressed by the new measures, which he actually would like to see stay.
Stuart said: “It is now all table service and everyone was cooperating with the rules that were in place – the staff did brilliantly.
“I would like to keep it like this, the music is now at a nice volume and the atmosphere is still excellent.
“For a lot of the older regulars who live alone, this is all they have. It’s their social life so it is nice to have some normality back.”
However not everyone is as keen on the new measures. Steve Greenwell, 66, had visited The Terrace for a pint on Monday afternoon.
He explained: “I’m a day drinker so it is usually quiet but I think it is worse than before. I wouldn't say it is normal but we have to make the best of it.”
Eric Le Menn, 23, one of the managers at The Terrace, described the weekend as a “well oiled machine”.
He said: “It wasn’t too bad, the table service went really went and because of the shape of the venue, it is easier for us to have a one-way system in place.
“There was a positive reaction from staff and customers, it just went off like a well oiled machine.”