Sunderland micro pub reopens following coronavirus lockdown - here's how it is keeping drinkers safe

A pub believed to be Sunderland’s smallest has reopened following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Friday, 24th July 2020, 7:00 am

The Lighthouse, in Sea Road, only started trading just before Christmas and was building up a loyal customer base when bars nationwide closed down overnight in March on government orders.

Now, after waiting around a fortnight since pubs were granted permission to reopen from July 4, the former Bojangles coffee shop has welcomed drinkers back.

Owner Sean Turnbull, who put his life savings into the venture, which is believed to be the city’s first micro pub, said: “It is good to see so many of our regulars back already.

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Sunderland micro pub The Lighthouse has reopened following lockdown.

"People were just starting to come in on a regular basis and on certain nights the place used to be chocka.

"Now it is a case of going back to the start and building it all back up again.”

Sean, 48, from South Hylton, used the four-month closure period to make safety improvements in line with new regulations.

Sanitisers have been installed, a beer garden at the rear of the premises has helped maintain the overall capacity at around 25 people and there are now separate men’s and ladies’ toilets upstairs.

Customers must sign in and used sanitisers.

Names and contact numbers are also required on entry with all service at tables and no standing at the bar.

Sean, who yearned to open his own pub after working as a brewery delivery driver for nearly 25 years, added: “The beer garden will help but what we have said is that if you are in the garden and it rains then you cannot come back into the bar if it is full. You will have to leave by the back door.”

Children are not allowed in for now with the pub initially opening Thursdays-Sundays between 4pm-9pm.

He said: “It’s 9pm for now because you do not want people coming in plastered. That’s when social distancing problems start.

Sean Turnbull has spent part of lockdown renovating the pub's beer garden.

"People are still a little reluctant to come out but hopefully it will all ease in time.

"If it had carried on for a few more months then I would have had to consider packing it in.

"My family have helped out and I am quite lucky compared to some people after all this.”

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