Food and drink venues gear up to reopen indoors from Monday
Socially distanced tables, hand sanitising stations and table service are just some of the precautions that hospitality venues are putting in place.
Restaurants cafes and bars are preparing to open their doors again and serve customers from inside for the first time in months.
From Monday, May 17, businesses will have to adhere to strict Covid-19 safety guidelines as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.
Customers must stay in groups of no more than six unless they are from two or fewer households, when party numbers are permitted to be larger.
And those choosing to continue braving the outdoors can be seated with as many as 30 people under the new guidance.
Customers can still benefit from the Government's VAT cut, which will remain at 5 per cent until October, going up to 12.5 per cent for six months before then returning to 20 percent.
And hospitality businesses can take advantage of the business rates relief scheme set to continue until June.
This time around, it will work differently from the previous tiered system, where venues had to adhere to a strict 10 pm curfew and could only serve alcohol with 'substantial meals'
Soji Joseph, General Manager of the Ginger Bistro, Garstang Road, was among those who are this weekend preparing to reopen their doors.
He said: "We have been preparing to put all the Covid safety precautions in place. Our tables are all spaced one metre apart, we are offering table service and have introduced hygiene stations around the building.
"We are already fully booked from the morning that we reopen, but we will always try and seat people where we can. We have been operating all last month from outside and will continue to keep our outside space open."
Meanwhile, the staff at the popular Winckley Street Alehouse, owned by Mark O'Rourke, who owns six food and drink venues across Preston, were pictured today putting in final preparations ahead of the indoor opening on Monday.
Customers have spent the last month sitting on tables outside the ale bar on Winckley Street in the city centre.
The news comes as it was announced that more than 50 venues across Preston city centre will reopen from Monday (May 17) to welcome customers back for safe socialising.
To make things easier for customers, Preston City Centre Business Improvement District has created a simple microsite listing all the venues which will re-open.
Mark Whittle from Preston BID said: “Venue owners, managers, and their teams, have worked incredibly hard over the last month to offer a great outdoor experience, which has been enjoyed by many people.
"As we look forward to venues reopening indoors, we are confident that customers will support local businesses by returning and enjoying themselves responsibly”.
It is expected that all social distancing measures will be relaxed next month from June 21 in the final stage of the Government's roadmap back to normality.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here.