Sunderland pub bosses looks forward to reopening as lockdown rules are eased again
Pubs, restaurants and other venues across Sunderland are looking forward to welcoming back customers as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
Businesses are set to welcome customers indoors on Monday, May 17, for the first time since the current rules were imposed shortly after New Year.
Outdoor venues have been able to open since April 12, although rules have remained in place requiring the wearing of face mask while not seated and only allowing table service.
While many venues took advantage of last month’s relaxation, a substantial number did not – among them Chaplins in Stockton Road and Ttonic in Vine Place.
Chaplins had gone so far as to create a new beer garden in preparation for the easing of lockdown restrictions after the pub and back-to-back neighbour The Cooper Rose were granted permission to stop traffic up the small section of Derwent Street that separates them and create two new outdoor drinking areas.
But although the Wetherspoons venue reopened as soon as the rules were relaxed, Chaplins remained closed.
Tony Griffiths, chairman of owner LGT Developments, said he felt the rules at the time were unworkable.
But with the further relaxation, the firm is ready to get back to business - Chaplins will be open from 10am on Monday and Ttonic from 11am. The Vine Place bar will remain open until 3am, seven days a week. Tony is expecting things to be busy: “A lot of young people have missed out on milestones such as 18th and 21st birthday celebrations,” he said.
"We expect it to be buzzing.”
He is particularly excited about next month when it is hope there will be the final lifting of all restrictions on social contact, when the group’s venue The Point will also reopen: “The one we are all looking forward to is June 21, when if it all goes to plan, we will be able to stop telling people what to do, where to sit, to remember to wear a mask – we hate having to do that,” he said.
He has missed the social element of his job: “We are social people in this industry,” he said. “That is why we pick this line of work.
"It is in our blood.”
The Roker Hotel has operated an outdoor area since the latest restrictions were partially eased last month but staff are looking forward to welcoming guests again.
"We are really excited,” said marketing manager Alex Clark.
The hotel is owned by Tavistock Hospitality and the group’s other venues are also gearing up to welcome back customers.
"We have got The Lambton Worm at Chester-le-Street and the Italian Farmhouse at West Rainton and they will be opening on Monday too,” said Alex.
"Things are picking up really well and we are really happy with how it is going.”