Pub reopening felt like ‘first day back at school’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 08 July 2020

The Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter Inn

The Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter Inn

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The Otter Inn reopened its doors on Saturday (July 4) for the first time since lockdown began.

The Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter InnThe Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter Inn

Proprietor Donna McCann described the reopening as like a ‘first day back at school’ but was happy to see smiles on customers’ faces again.

She said: “The first day was steady and I think everyone was feeling like it was the first day back at school after summer break!

“The lockdown has been about 16 weeks and there has been much activity behind the scenes with decoration and upkeep of the building.

“Obviously some things could not have been done until the final week. We had only just received permission to repatriate our beers and then we had to anticipate what we may need to re-open for beers and food, which it is totally an unknown thing when you don’t know how busy you will be.”

The Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter InnThe Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter Inn

In preparation for the reopening, staff were given two training sessions where they were talked through the pub’s new safety measures such as tables being two metres apart, laminated menus which are sanitised after every use and tables and chairs also being sanitised between customers.

Donna said: “All the staff wore visors for the first day. These were difficult to work with as the sound bounces back at you and hard for the customer to hear but we wore them to show we take Covid-19 very seriously and everyone’s safety is so very important.

Donna said the customers told her they felt ‘relaxed’ and ‘safe’ and were happy to be able to go out again. She said: “Socialising is so very important for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing and it was great to see really happy smiley faces again.

“The staff were all really looking forward to coming back and seeing their colleagues again and all our lovely locals, it’s been a long time.”

The Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter InnThe Otter Inn reopened its doors for the first time after lockdown along with new health and safety measures. Picture; The Otter Inn

Customers were asked to provide a name and telephone number so that the test and trace service can be used if necessary. Donna said: “The government have asked hospitality to help with “track and trace” but if someone refuses to provide the information then we are able to serve them. However we take the view that you MUST provide a Name and telephone number for the safety of everyone and to help the country move forward safely.


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