Raising a glass to the great outdoors

The Butlers Arms has created a marquee which will complement the decking areas
Pubs and hospitality venues show versatility for big reopening

As hospitality venues in Sutton prepare to tentatively come out of lockdown on April 12, pubs and restaurants are coming up with some ingenious solutions to the problem of eating and drinking outside.

From that date hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’), as before the last hospitality closure in October. 

Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

It will be a welcome return to business for hospitality venues, with many having gone to the wall and others surviving through grants, loans and the use of the Job Retention Scheme (furlough).

Now they hope to be back for good with a return to full opening on May 17, providing there is no further surge in Covid-19 cases.

To cope with this, pubs in particular are adapting their premises to allow groups of people to drink and dine together when the weather is poor

These include these of shelters, which look like kiosks used at the Birmingham German markets, seen at the Crown at Four Oaks and the Hardwick Arms at Streetly and strengthened open marquees, like at the Butlers Arms on Lichfield Road, covered outdoor areas, like The Bracebridge in Sutton Park and some, turning their gardens into the equivalent of a German beer garden, like the Town House in Sutton Coldfield Town centre, similar to those seen at Munich’s Oktoberfest.

It is anticipated there will be a huge rush and many venues are contacting customers through the use of apps to invite them back and book a table where available.

The team at the Bulters Arms said on their Facebook page: “Have a sneak peak at our menu for The Butlers Outdoors… We’re not taking bookings for outside tables. Tables will be available on a strictly first come, first serve basis. We can’t wait to welcome you all back on April 12th (hopefully 🤞).”

Other indoor locations to open on May 17 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.

 The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues. In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend.

By that point hospitality in Sutton and across the country will be hoping to be fully back in business by June 21. All dates are subject to change, depending on any sign of a further wave of coronavirus infection.  

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