Sunderland city centre pubs and bars brace for bumper Bank Holiday
Sunderland city centre's bars and restaurants are set for a bumper Bank Holiday weekend, regardless of the weather, says the boss of the city’s Business Improvement District.
BID head of business operation Sharon Appleby has been pleased with the reaction from shoppers and revellers since the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on April 12 and expects it to continue over the three-day break.
The first days after non-essential shops started to reopen had been hectic, but things had quietened down a little since: “It has been all right. The bars and hospitality venues have been busy and retail has been quite steady,” said Sharon.
It had been busy during the first week, which was in line with expectations, but not so much that there had been problems with enforcing the rules on social distancing and mark wearing.
"We would have been worried if it had been too over the top, but it was fine,” said Sharon.
"It has not been quite so busy since, but a lot of that has been to do with the weather.
"All the places that are taking bookings have been doing well – The Looking Glass have had people coming from all over the place. They are doing food and drink and have had a really good run.”
Business bosses have been pleased with the willingness of the public to comply with the coronavirus rules: “People are still being careful but we are really pleased with the fact that people are coming back to support our businesses,” said Sharon.
“People are still being really sensitive and sensible which is good to see.”
How busy businesses were over the weekend would depend on what the weather did, she added: “I think the weather will have a lot to do with it. If the weather is not good, then I think more people will come out to go shopping.”
She expected hospitality venues to do well regardless of the weather, with the cold temperatures of recent weeks having failed to put people off: "I think the bars and restaurants that are trading will do really well – we are seeing lots of people with their coats on sitting outside.”