Southsea Village pub manager ‘can’t wait to welcome back’ customers

A PUB manager has said he ‘can't wait to reopen’ after government today announced the sector can welcome in customers from July 4.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 1:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 8:57 am

The Southsea Village pub’s Rodney Watson told The News he had ‘his fingers crossed’ that prime minister Boris Johnson would show the sector the green light, which he now has.

While the pub has been able to offer take-away food and more recently drinks, Mr Watson is hopeful ‘things can start to return to some semblance of normality’.

He said: ‘I can’t wait to reopen.

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Rodney Watson, manager of Southsea Village pub, pictured on June 23 2020, the day prime minister Boris Johnson said pubs can re-open from July 4. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘Every day I come into the pub and see it empty I really miss that atmosphere and seeing people enjoying themselves.

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In recent weeks staff have been working hard to put in place new government guidelines to allow the popular pub to reopen.

Measures include fitting perspex screens between tables, developing an app to order food and drinks and providing each table with a QR code to display a digital menu.

Mr Watson added: ‘Everything will be table service and staff will be wearing face shields with the pub’s logo on them – shields which customers can also buy. We will also be using disposable cutlery.

‘We will have to have more daily staff who will be responsible for controlling the number of people coming into the pub.

‘It’s very difficult to maintain social distancing in toilets and so we will be operating a policy of just one person at a time.’

Mr Johnson has reduced the two-metre social distancing rule.

Mr Watson said: ‘At two metres we can operate at around 30 per cent capacity, which wouldn’t be viable, however at one metre this goes up to around 70 per cent which would be.’

However, even with pubs set to reopen there still remains the issue of restoring public confidence to visit their local.

Mr Watson added: ‘I’m confident that customers will return. All the regulars I have spoken to can’t wait to return. It’s also why we are putting all these measures in place to ensure people feel safe.’

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