AS anticipation builds for the reopening of pubs and restaurants, hospitality businesses in Middlewich and Winsford have shared how they feel about getting ready to open their doors once again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the next stage of easing the coronavirus restrictions which will result in bars and eateries reopening from July 4.

The two-metre rule will be eased, replaced with a ‘one-metre plus’ measure, with the protection offered by the physical distance enhanced by other mitigation measures such as the use of face coverings, increased hygiene or layout changes in premises.

The Guardian spoke to pubs and restaurants ahead of the announcement to find out what their plans were.

Martin Moseley, host at Weaver Valley Co-operative which runs The Kings Lock in Middlewich, plus the Red Lion and The Gate Inn in Winsford, said staff are apprehensive but excited and have been working hard on plans to make their pubs a safe, hospitable and entertaining as before.

Speaking about The Kings Lock, a small pub set at the side of the Trent and Mersey Canal on Booth Lane, he said they were planning to make use of the venue’s large outdoor space.

He said: “We’re lucky that we’ve got a great big garden at the front and the back which provides a lot of space where people will be able to safely keep a social distance.

“The pub itself is quite small inside so we’re planning on running a one-way system with only two customers at the bar at a time. I don’t think we’re going to open the kitchen here in quite the same way as before, but we’re looking at offering a smaller menu and holding barbecues over the summer.”

Martin says some of the pub’s initial success will be down to the weather, but the popular Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival venue does have a large marquee which can provide shelter for customers on less sunny days. 

He said: “We’re all just desperate to get back to normal and we can’t wait to welcome our customers back. 

“Things will be a bit different, but we’ve been thinking creatively about how we can work around the inevitable restrictions.”

The co-op’s team is used to being creative and adapted quickly to lockdown measures by launching its What’s for Tea? service. Run from The Red Lion, on Wharton Road, the delivery service offers daily menus catering for everyone from vegans to Sunday roast fans, plus a food box delivery for the vulnerable.

Martin is hopeful that the local community that the pubs have supported during lockdown will, in turn, support them when they reopen. 

He said: “The staff are all really looking forward to getting back to work and from the feedback we’ve had, our regulars are keen to come back and see us.”

At Il Padrino in Middlewich, Claire Halluni and her husband Alberto have spent the past few weeks gearing up for welcoming customers back to the Wheelock Street restaurant. 

As they’ve awaited clear guidance from the Government they’ve been busy redecorating the premises and ensuring its health and safety measures are on top form so that they can accommodate as many customers safely and comfortably as possible.

The couple, who also manage Don Alberto in Holmes Chapel, only took over the historic Alhambra building in October before being forced close its doors in March. 

Over the past few months, they’ve been serving the community by operating as a takeaway.

Claire said: “It has been absolutely incredible. The support from the people of Middlewich and Holmes Chapel has been phenomenal helping us through this difficult time.”

She said that the staff are looking forward to returning to the Italian restaurant and the team is excited to be welcoming customers to their premises.

Claire added: “As soon as we know our rules and guidelines in order to open fully and safely we will let our customers know. Once we have this information, we will welcome bookings.

“We cannot wait to see our doors open again and our lovely customers eating in.”

For Chimichangos owner Jason Tanfield it’s still a case of waiting until they have a total all-clear from the Government. 

The popular Mexican restaurant on Wheelock Street has technically not closed since lockdown was announced. It transformed from being a three day a week sit-in restaurant to a six-day a week takeaway delivery service.

Jason said: “We’ve had a few requests for bookings to dine in. Unfortunately, we won’t be opening until we have a total all-clear from the Government. Lots of our staff have children and we won’t put any staff at risk and social distancing won’t work as we are a small place.”

 However, the restaurant plans to continue its delivery service and will be opening their windows to form a special ‘Bar-rito’ from July 4, a pop-up service offering burritos, hot churros and cocktails.

To find out more about when the above restaurants will ready to officially reopen, visit their Facebook pages Chimichangos, Il Padrino, and The Kings Lock.