Portsmouth pubs praise loyal customers for their support throughout Covid-19 pandemic
PUBLICANS across Portsmouth have breathed a sigh of relief and punters have raised a glass after Covid-19 were restrictions lifted.
But an atmosphere of caution remains in the air following the changes on Monday, with crowds of mask-less pub punters free to order and drink at the bar.
Landlords and landladies across the city have saluted their loyal customers for supporting their locals throughout the pandemic.
Landlady Meg Groves, who has run the The Star and Garter in Copnor Road for more than two and half years, praised her regulars for their understanding throughout the last 18 months of restrictions.
The 36-year-old said: ‘We have such a strong, loyal customer base.
‘They have really got us through the pandemic.’
A regular of the pub for more than five years, Dan Savage said it felt ‘fantastic’ to return to normal service and have an easier time catching up with familiar bar staff.
He said: ‘Standing at a bar with a beer – there’s nothing better.’
But punters and publicans have picked up on a cautious mood that has restrained huge crowds from filling boozers.
The Star and Garter regular Sam Beckett said: ‘I thought the pubs would be busier. I thought pubs would be full all the time.’
Dan agreed: ‘I assumed everyone would want to get stuck back in to pub life.
‘People are being cautious.’
Mask wearing is continuing for many punters and staff, according to landlady Meg.
The landlady of The Milton Arms in Milton Road, Chrissy Sloan, also praised her customer base – but agreed that restriction-free trade has been less than spectacular.
She aid: ‘Trade has been okay – I don’t think the sun has been helping, I think everyone wants to be outside.
But the landlady, who took on her pub in the middle of the pandemic last September, won’t be missing restrictions that mandated table service only – describing it as a ‘murder’ to manage.
She remains concerned for the future, and added: ‘I have a little bit of a funny feel that we will be given a bit of a summer - and then may have a sort of local lockdown.’