Portsmouth pub landlords say this week has 'felt like a weekend' due to high footfall
LANDLORDS at pubs across Portsmouth say that every day ‘has felt like a weekend’ this week.
Since the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Monday, April 12, pubs, bars and restaurants have been able to welcome outdoor customers back.
Southsea has been particularly busy this week, with packed seating areas out in the streets and pub gardens.
For the landlords, many of whom had been left counting pennies due to their pubs being shut for the past four months, this week has been a huge morale boost for them and their staff.
Rodney Watson, landlord at The Southsea Village in Palmerston Road, said: ‘Everyone is really happy to be back – myself included.
‘This whole week has been awesome, with lots of people outside enjoying themselves.
‘We’ve been at full capacity for this whole week, and even though we can’t accommodate for more customers I imagine we will have more takeaway beers being ordered this weekend too.
‘It’s a godsend that the council has closed Palmerston Road to motorists as well. Without that, we’d all be stuck with just a couple of tables outside and it wouldn’t have been viable to reopen.’
Mr Watson added that ‘most’ of his staff have already been taken off furlough to handle this week’s demand.
His sentiment has been shared by other landlords as well, all of whom seem optimistic about what lies ahead.
Sean Muns, landlord of The Kings pub in Albert Road, Southsea, said he was happy to just have some customers again.
With the pub being staffed solely by him and one part-time employee, it’s been a very hands-on week.
‘It has been a very busy week – every day has felt like a weekend, but that’s definitely a good thing,’ he said.
‘Everyone is behaving themselves and there has been no trouble whatsoever.
‘I’m grateful that it has been so busy since we reopened, and hopefully we can keep that momentum going.
‘The pubs, bars and restaurants really need that support at the moment, so this definitely is a promising start.’
For Alex and Sam Vernal, who took over The British Queen Freehouse, in Queens Road, Fratton, in October 2018, the pick up in trade has been most welcome.
They have brought their staff back from furlough and recruited an extra four people.
Alex, 42, said: ‘It has been very positive. The demand has been very strong and the behaviour is extremely good.
‘It is nice for people to get back to having that social interaction again.’
Their pub, which they have refurbished during lockdown including opening a cafe, can seat 70 people socially distanced in the garden.
Alex added: ‘People are just pleased to be out again.’