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Nights out in Newbury will feel very different

On Saturday Newbury’s pubs and restaurants will begin to reopen their doors, and those rushing out to enjoy a pint or a spot of dinner will find a very different experience to the norm waiting for them.

Newbury’s landlords and restaurateurs have put in a huge amount of effort behind the scenes to prepare for their long-awaited reopening, meticulously following guidelines to ensure their customers stay safe and can adhere to social distancing requirements. They can’t wait to welcome back their regulars and newcomers, whilst being mindful of managing customers’ expectations with regards to what to expect.

You should note:

  • Planning ahead will be key, with many pubs taking advance bookings.

  • Pre-booking will be particularly important at weekends, when venues are expecting demand to be high.

  • Capacity will be limited in all venues and customers will only be able to enter the premises once a table is available for them, so they are advised to be prepared to queue if they don’t have a reservation.

  • Instead of being served at the bar, drinks will be ordered from tables via an app or waiter service, and there may be a time limit on how long tables can be reserved for.

  • Additional outdoor seating will be available at some venues and, in most cases, contactless payment will be necessary.

  • Venues will be required to record customers’ contact details to assist with track and trace, and systems will be in place to enable this.

Social distancing guidelines will also be enforced, with all venues maintaining 2 metres between tables where possible, or 1 metre plus other mitigating factors such as Perspex screens or back-to-back seating where 2 metres isn’t possible. Toilets will be managed, with many operating a one-in, one-out system, and additional hygiene measures will be in place.

To ensure the safety of all customers, a zero tolerance view will be taken towards any customers breaching the guidelines.

Anyone planning to head out in Newbury this weekend is encouraged to read the latest guidance on social distancing and mixing with other households: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing-after-4-july

Opening hours will be shorter than the public are used to, with pubs in Newbury town centre closing no later than midnight initially, and some choosing not to open at all yet. Events such as live music are off the agenda for now, but fun and togetherness are most certainly on the agenda, and it is hoped the reopening of the hospitality sector will bring our community together in a way that’s been sorely missed in recent months.

Alison Drummond, Newbury BID’s Operations Manager, explains “We have been working closely with Thames Valley Police, West Berkshire Council, Newbury Town Council, and the licensees of Newbury’s pubs and restaurants to plan the safe reopening of Newbury’s hospitality industry. Police, Environmental Health and Licensing Officers will continue to work with landlords and restaurant managers, including carrying out visits to make sure all guidelines are being complied with. We want to reassure the public that is safe to come together to drink and dine in town centre venues, and we hope everyone approaches the reopening with a sense of kindness, understanding, and shared social responsibility.

“Pre-planning your pub or restaurant visit is crucial – not only to check whether your chosen venue will be opening, but also to find out whether you need to reserve a table and understand any systems the venue has in place to keep you safe. We expect to see high demand for pubs in Newbury this weekend and we strongly advise booking in advance. To help you to plan, we’ve launched a dedicated web page listing opening times and booking procedures for venues in the town centre.”

To find out which of Newbury town centre’s pubs and restaurants will be open this weekend, their new opening times and the processes they have put in place to keep their customers safe, please visit https://visitnewbury.org.uk/hospitality-reopening

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