'The phone hasn't stopped ringing' - Hartlepool pub proves popular ahead of potential April 12 reopening
The prospect of cold weather hasn’t scared customers away from an early return to one pub and restaurant.
The Raby Arms, in Hart, is getting ready to welcome customers back on Monday, April 12, if the planned easing of lockdown restrictions is finally confirmed.
Manager Kate Bruns has said the prospect of bad weather hasn’t dampened punters’ enthusiasm over enjoying a drink and a meal outdoors with family and friends.
She said: “I’m excited to get the doors open. I’m looking forward to seeing people and giving them a space where they can meet up with their friends and family.
"I’m a little bit apprehensive just because of the way things are going to open and plans seem to change quite quickly.
"I just hope we can stay open. I’m sure once we open the doors everything will just fall into place.”
The pub’s signature meals will be on offer, as well as more nibbles and sharing platters for those who prefer just a drink.
Everyone will have to wear a face covering until they are sat down and tables will be well spread out to ensure social distancing is maintained between customers.
Hand sanitising stations will be available and tables can be booked for two-hour slots to ensure everyone who wants to has a chance to enjoy the company of loved ones at the pub.
Miss Bruns has said all marquee tables were booked weeks ago for the first weekend after the potential reopening.
She said: "The phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
"The first weekend is looking particularly busy.
"If people can’t get a booking on a weekend, they are just going for midweek. I think people are just desperate to see each other.”
The majority of the outdoor seating area at the Raby Arms is on the grass, where there are 32 tables.
Some gazebos will be available and punters have told Miss Bruns that the elements won’t scare them.
She added: "A lot of people are already saying even if the weather is rubbish they are quite happy to brave it in the grass area. We are telling people to wrap up, though.”
The Raby Arms has adapted to the ongoing restrictions over the last year by opening a grocery shop on site – the first in the village for around a decade.