'A bit too soon' - What Hartlepool pub customers think about Freedom Day's lifting of lockdown rules

Most lockdown restrictions have now been lifted but many people in Hartlepool say they will continue to wear face coverings to protect themselves and others.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 3:04 pm

So called Freedom Day on Monday, July 19, means masks are no longer mandatory in shops and on public transport, limits on gatherings have gone, the work from home guidance no longer applies and social distancing has been relaxed.

Nightclubs, theatres and restaurants can also fully reopen, while pubs are no longer restricted to table service only.

The Ward Jackson pub in Church Square, Hartlepool started serving customers at the bar again but is encouraging social distancing to prevent overcrowding and screens are still in place.

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Ward Jackson pub shift leader Yasemin Erol behind the bar. Picture by FRANK REID

Shift leader Yasemin Erol said: “Wetherspoons are sticking to the restrictions as much as we can. We will be putting down two-metre stickers to limit people at the bar and keep social distancing for staff behind it.

"We are already seeing people still wanting to wear masks and keeping their distance and being respectful to others.”

Customers included husband and wife Moss and Sandra Dumbleton on holiday from Scotland where face coverings remain mandatory.

Sandra, 67, of Rosyth said about England’s lifting of restrictions: “I think it’s a bit too soon. I think Boris Johnson has been pressured into doing it too quickly.

Husband and wife Moss and Dumbleton.

"I’m a bit uncomfortable with it really. That’s why I still wear my mask.”

Moss, also 67, said: “I agree. Everyone is shouting and moaning [about restrictions] because businesses are not getting the customers but when you have to close it again they will be moaning again.

"It’s a no win situation.”

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Andy Phillips at The Ward Jackson pub. Picture by FRANK REID

Andy Phillips, 51, from Dyke House, who is double jabbed and was enjoying a pint in the sun, said: “I will still be wearing my mask on public transport and in a supermarket possibly as well.

“You don’t just wear them for yourself you do it to protect other people.”

Oil and gas industry worker Scott McDonald, 30, of Bishop Cuthbert, is looking forward to more freedom.

He said: “If I’m in a place where I’m asked to wear a mask I will, but I’m going to try not to wear it if I can.

“I will probably go socialising out of town a bit more now.

"Where I work in Denmark there has been no restrictions for months.”

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