When will pubs reopen in Portsmouth and Hampshire? Pub landlords hopeful for 'amazing' summer

IF everything goes to plan, this could be a summer to remember.

By David George
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 6:16 pm

That is the positive message from pub landlords and restaurant owners after the prime minister revealed the government’s roadmap to ending the coronavirus lockdown.

For much of the past 12 months, hospitality venues have been closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But from April 12 at the earliest, pubs and restaurants will be able to serve food and drink in an outdoor capacity, with indoor dining lined up for May 17.

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Steve Kingsley in Kingsley's new beer garden. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Entrepreneurs across the city are optimistic that if the roadmap stays the course, it will be a great summer for all of us.

Kingsley’s in Osborne Road, Southsea, transformed from a nightclub to a bar and beer garden last year to allow business during lockdown.

Owner Steve Kingsley is looking forward to welcoming people back to his venue.

Faz Ahmed at The Akash restaurant, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘It’s wonderful news, absolutely wonderful.

‘This isn’t just great for landlords, it’s good for everyone – we all want something to look forward to and this is it.

‘It will certainly be refreshing to have customers back again, it’s looking like we’ll have a promising summer. I’m optimistic about the months ahead.’

Chris Vaux, landlord of the Lord John Russell in Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171680-1)

While the government announcement has been welcomed by many, a number of venues in Portsmouth will have to stay closed as they cannot facilitate an outdoor experience.

Chris Vaux from the Lord John Russell in Albert Road says it simply isn’t viable to do outdoor service, so he’s left with no choice but to wait it out.

He said: ‘We could stick four tables outside but it’s just not worth it, so we’ll have to remain shut for now.

‘But overall I think it’s still a positive move – we just want to get people drinking and dancing together again.

‘I don’t think we’ll ever take pubs and restaurants for granted again. It will be so nice to see people and hear about their three-day hangovers afterwards.’

For Faz Ahmed, co-owner of The Akash in Southsea, the announcement means his Bangladeshi restaurant will continue to be takeaway only.

He said: ‘We have no outdoor capabilities so the government’s plan seems a bit unfair to me, although I understand why they did it.

‘But so many businesses are struggling right now, so we need all the help we can get.

‘It will be nice to have people out again though, and I do hope things get better in the summer.’

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