With just over a week since the Prime Minister gave the go ahead for pubs to reopen, most pubs in Henley reopened with a busy first weekend and were pleased to welcome back their customers.
Brakspear were keen to help their pubs reopen making sure that the new ways of working were robust enough. Many have implanted one-way systems, hand-sanitising stations and single-use menus to ensure they’re operating as safely as possible.
Emma Sweet, Marketing Manager at Brakspear said, “The cloudier weather was helpful during the first couple of days as it meant the pubs weren’t too overwhelmed with those clamouring for their first pint, however demand is now building nicely and pubs are feeling confident they can cope with the demand.
Emma held a Zoom meeting with her landlords to catch up on how their first few days had been going. She said “It’s been great to hear stories about those excited to be back in the pub again and whilst at the moment it’s mainly a younger crowd in the pubs, the average age is now creeping up and we’re looking forward to our older customers returning when they feel it’s the right thing to do for them. We appreciate there’s more of a concern for those older or more vulnerable customers so many pubs are creating a safe space which will be less crowded for anyone who would like more space.”
Claire Wakefield the new landlord at the Old Bell Pub in Bell Street said, “I was slightly terrified when I opened the doors on July 4th as I really didn’t know how our community would react. I wasn’t sure if the measures I had put in place to keep everyone safe would be received well. As it turned out, People have been incredibly supportive and genuinely happy to see the pub open again. It’s reassuring to know that people are happy to comply with new government guidelines, and being able to sit and have a drink and a chat is a pleasure. Business is still slower than I would like but in time I’m sure things will improve.”
After reopening the Row Barge in West Street had to close for 24 hours last Thursday (9 July) as one of their members of staff tested positive for Covid-19. The pub was given a thorough deep clean and opened the following day and the rest of the staff were tested. Emma added, “Pubs exist because people want to come to them and they’ll only do that if they feel safe, so that’s our key focus at the mo. We have a full plan in place for any customers or staff who test positive for Covid-19 and we’ve already successfully put these plans into place like we did for the Row Barge and this was due to the speedy and professional reaction from the landlord, Joe Miller.”