Sunday, 05 July 2020 00:31

Landlords said trade was 'slow but steady' and the expected rush back to the pubs did not materialise Featured

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PUB-goers appeared to have heeded official advice to drink responsibly when they visited their local on Super Saturday.

There was a highly visible police presence in many north Wiltshire market towns to make sure the first day of re-opening following lockdown restrictions being relaxed passed without major incident.

Earlier, police and other official bodies had posted messages urging pub-goers to enjoy themselves and play their part by acting responsibly.

Wiltshire Police said: “Practise social distancing and good hand hygiene to reduce the risk to you and others.

“Whilst we want people to have a good time, we must remember that coronavirus remains a serious threat.”

Pub landlords said trade had been "slow but steady" and were able to cope with the numbers of visitors who came out to enjoy a pint and meet up with friends.

At The Bridge in Horton, husband and wife, Alan and Karen Johnson, from Erghun Lane, Devizes, had walked along the canal towpath to their local.

"We normally come here about twice a week," said Mrs Johnson, who was drinking lager.

Mr Johnson, on Guinness, added: "We've missed the sociability of being able to come out for a pint."

Landlord Matt Smith of the Wadworth pub said: "Trade has been slow but steady. We've had about 30 customers in."

At The Barge in Honeystreet, landlady Sheila Sinclair was serving drinks from a temporary bar in the beer garden.

"We've not opened the pub, as we've just had the wooden floor sanded and stained. It's easier to manage the customers outside for now."

Victoria Martin, 43, who lives on a canal boat with her husband Martin Crouch and their two children, Maya, 12, and Kester, 4, said: "We're really lucky.

"We've been moored here for three months during lockdown and have been able to buy food from their community shop."

It seemed that many pubs that re-opened on Super Saturday experienced a slow start.

That may have been due to yesterday’s weather, with showers forecast for the afternoon.

Some customers came out early to have a pint at the Wetherspoons pub, The Bear in Melksham, which opened at 6am for breakfast.

Elsewhere, many pub operators, such as the Greene King chain, are not re-opening until Monday.

Some breweries and pub operators are planning to stagger re-openings over the next two weeks, while some pubs may not re-open until next month.

Many publicans are waiting to see how other pubs – and their customers – cope with the new social distancing rules.

For some, the layouts of their interiors are likely to prohibit re-opening until the new rules are completely relaxed.

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