'Buzzing' to be out of the cold - Customers rush back to Wetherspoons and McDonalds for breakfasts as businesses reopen

Businesses across Sunderland were ‘excited’ to be opening their doors as customers hugged friends and family inside for the first time in months.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:55 pm

Pubs, restaurants and cafes across the city reopened today, Monday, May 17 as lockdown restrictions eased further.

Indoor socialising, hugging and holidays to destinations on the green list resumed from today, in line with the Government’s roadmap to lifting lockdown.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland was buzzing with people meeting loved ones inside. (clockwise) (top left) Manager of McDonald's Louise Nash. Jon Hutchinson enjoying a pint. Manager of the Keel Lounge Sharon Downey. Sisters Pat Dewar and Ann Graham having a coffee.

Wetherspoons and McDonalds were among the first businesses in Sunderland to open their doors to customers.

Manager of The William Jameson Wetherspoon pub, Gemma Foster said it had been “really busy already” when we visited at 10am.

She said: “We’re all really excited about today, we’ve been waiting patiently to open the inside and it’s great welcoming customers back.”

Darren Lovert, 55, a painter and decorator from the East End was among to first through the door.

Jon Hutchinson enjoying a pint in the William Jameson while waiting for his wife at the hairdressers.

He said: “I’m buzzing to be back, it’s a lot nicer being inside that out in the cold.”

Joanne Gray, 49, manager of Greggs from Pallion and Brenda Gray, 76 from Redhouses had a coffee inside The William Jameson pub.

Joanne said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be inside. We’ve been sitting in the beer garden in the freezing cold for weeks so I’m buzzing to be having a coffee inside.”

McDonald’s in Sunderland’s High Street West welcomed customers back this morning as Manager Louise Nash, 37 said it had been “lovely” to see regulars again.

Joanne Gray with John McCowliff and Brenda Gray hugging in Wetherspoon's The William Jameson.

She said: “I’m feeling good about today, we’re excited. We’ve been full downstairs all morning and expecting to be busy later today too.

“It’s been lovely seeing the regulars back this morning, it can only get better from here.”

Husband and wife Lilian and Derek Shotton, 76 and 82, from South Shields enjoyed a McDonalds breakfast inside.

Derek said: “I feel champion, I feel better for coming out. I do think there will be another lockdown though but we will have to deal with that.”

Husband and wife Lilian, 76 and Derek, 82 Shotton from South Shields enjoying a Mcdonald's breakfast.

Read More

Read More
Boris Johnson calls for 'heavy dose of caution' as hugs, holidays and indoor hos...

Many venues in Sunderland were pleased to see customers back inside but some said they were concerned the spread of the Indian variant would lead to another lockdown.

Sharon Downey, 50, owner of The Keel Lounge in High Street West opened for the first time since November.

She said: “I’m actually a bit nervous about today but it’s been nice seeing the regulars popping in. It’s been a slow start but it’s been good for training staff on all the health and safety rules in place.

“We’ve been closed since November and it’s been horrendous, we’ve still had to pay rent and bills so it’s been stressful, but hopefully it will get better from here. I am worried about another lockdown but hopefully it won’t be a national one.”

Manager Gemma Foster as The William Jameson in the city centre was among the pubs welcoming customers back indoors this morning.

Sisters Pat Dewar, 76 from New Herrington and Ann Graham, from Ford Estate enjoyed a coffee in Market Square.

Pat said: “This is the first time we’ve been out for a coffee and we’re absolutely over the moon. We’ve had both our vaccines so I feel a lot more confident being out now.”

Ann added: “I’m really pleased to see places open and I’m looking forward to booking a holiday now!”

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.