Washington pub bosses ‘can’t wait’ for indoor reopening as part of today's lockdown easing

Washington pubs are preparing to serve indoors for the first time in over six months.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 7:00 am

A number of Washington bars have managed a partial reopening since outdoor-only service was permitted in April. But that hasn’t been an option everywhere.

Not every pub has a beer garden, space to put up a marquee, or been able to get a pavement licence. These include favourites like the Cross Keys in Washington Village, the Wessington on Donwell and the Biddick Inn in Fatfield.

But Monday, May 17 sees England’s pubs and restaurants returning to something like normal when indoor service starts again. The rule of six will be applied, although people can only visit hospitality venues in larger groups if only two households are involved.

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These Washington pubs are raring to go again when indoor service resumes on Monday, May 17.
These Washington pubs are raring to go again when indoor service resumes on Monday, May 17.

Kimberley Cheetham only took over the Cross Keys last August, but has been closed for most of the time since. A refurbishment was followed by lockdown just two weeks later.

Kimberley said: “We opened on October 20 and had to close on November 4, so it feels really good to be coming back.

“We’ve had a thorough inspection to check that all procedures are in place. There’s a traffic light system and we’ve been given a green light.

“We’re doing breakfasts and also getting ready for the European Championships.”

The Cross Keys has hardly been open since Kimberley Cheetham took over in 2020. Picture by Frank Reid.

Sheila Bould manager of the Wessington said: “The last time we opened up on July 4 we were as busy as anything. Hopefully it’s the same again. I can’t wait. The staff have been brilliant. Our customers are really lovely and have been helping us to set up. It will be great to see everyone again.”

Tracy Mackintosh assistant manager at the Biddick Inn on Bonemill Lane is excited too, saying: “We’ve been doing some outside service and takeaways. But I can’t wait to open inside. Bring it on I say!

“I’ll be over the moon to see everyone. This is my social life as well as my livelihood. I’m still wary, but I’m hoping for the best.”

The Wheelhouse in Albany has been providing outdoor service, but manager Joanne Wood is keen to return indoors.

The Wessington in Donwell is one of the pubs that hasn't opened since November 4, 2020.

She said: “I’m looking forward to it 100%. I can’t wait. I just want to get back to what I love doing. People appreciate it more because they haven’t had it for a while.”

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