Big Conversation Portsmouth: Majority of residents feel safe at pubs, bars and restaurants after lockdown

MORE than half of the city’s drinkers and diners feel safe enough to visit pubs, bars and restaurants after lockdown, figures from The News’ Big Conversation show.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:00 am

The two-week September poll of more than 1,000 people found 56 per cent feel comfortable or very comfortable going to cafes and restaurants.

Only slightly fewer, 52 per cent, have no worries about visiting the pubs and bars the Portsmouth area has to offer.

The easing of the March lockdown saw more than 100m half-price meals claimed as part of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August.

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Staff from restaurant and hotel, Becketts, in Bellevue Terrace, Southsea. Pictured is: (back l-r) Jack Sencherey-Evans, head chef, Ben Taylor-Smith, junior sous chef and Charlie Akehurst, chef de partie, with (front l-r) Kealan Blenkinsop, assistant manager, Soraya Parker, owner, and Terence Carvalho, general manager, outside the venue. Picture: Sarah Standing (110820-2573)

Terence Carvalho, general manager of bar and restaurant Becketts, in Bellevue Terrace, Southsea, said custom has not slowed since.

He told The News: ‘We’re down from pre Covid-19 levels in terms of covers because of distancing.

‘But we’ve actually seen more regular customers since the return of some of the lockdown restrictions.

‘We’ve got people coming in for a meal one day then back for a Sunday roast the next.

‘I think people are feeling very safe or they’re feeling fed up of the restrictions.’

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Like its Portsmouth-area counterparts Becketts has scrapped table space to comply with Covid-19 measures, dropping from 120 covers to 80.

But Terence said one boozy trend enjoyed by the modern venue points to a potential knock-on from the pandemic’s effects on overseas travel.

‘We’ve sold more champagne in the past three months than we have over the past 18 months,’ he said.

‘People can’t go on holiday so lots of them seem to be treating themselves when they go out.’

On the flip-side of the positive figures, 42 per cent of people are still uncomfortable or not comfortable at all about visiting cafes and restaurants.

That number was higher among bars and pubs, of which 46 per cent of respondents remain wary.

Terence added: ‘I’m not surprised with those figures. I thought they would be slightly higher.

‘I’ve been to a few bars where I wouldn’t say they have been great for social distancing.’

Other stats showed 50.11 per cent of respondents felt comfortable or very comfortable with holidays or short breaks in the UK.

Meanwhile 49.02 per cent of people felt the same about visiting a place of worship and 71 per cent would see a barber, hairdresser or beautician.

A total of 34.61 per cent said they feel comfortable about going into their place of work, but 35 per cent of people said they weren't sure.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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