SOME Lyme Regis pubs and restaurants will be opening their doors this weekend – but it will be an entirely different experience for diners and drinkers.
Several of the more expansive premises are opening on Saturday, July 4 having been given the green light from the government, but there is some doubt whether the smaller establishments will follow suit despite the social distancing rules being reduced from two metres to one-plus.
Among those opening on July 4 are the Pilot Boat, SWIM, Lyme Bay Café Bar, the Harbour Inn, the Talbot Arms in Uplyme and the refurbished Rock Point, which all have outside seating areas.
The Royal Standard has confirmed it is not quite ready to fully reopen yet, but will be continuing its popular food and drink takeaway service from its beer garden.
Smaller venues may find it more difficult to reopen while sticking to social distancing rules; The Nag’s Head and Volunteer Inn have confirmed they will not be opening this weekend.
The Ship Inn will be operating outside with a reduced menu from July 4.
Lyme’s biggest pub and restaurant, the Pilot Boat, will be reducing its indoor covers from 160 to 80 with additional room on its terrace where reservations will not be taken.
Licensee Robin Collyns has been working in the hospitality trade for 40 years. He told LymeOnline: “I have managed through two recessions but nothing like this. We just don’t know how it will work out.”
The Pilot will open its doors from 9am to 10pm every day. Table reservations are required for dining, which must include a main course per person.
Each table will be reserved for one hour 45 minutes from the time booked. There will be no standing at the bar and all drinks will be served to the table. Those just requiring drinks do not have to book a table but will be offered one on arrival on a first come first serve basis.
Every guest who comes into the Pilot will be registered and dogs will not be permitted. A takeaway service for pizzas will continue to be available.
The two-metre rule will still be observed between tables in the bar and restaurant, with tables on the terrace one and a half metres apart. A one-way system will be in operation throughout the building.
Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned at least every 30 minutes, there will be hand sanitisers throughout the building and tables will be disinfected between guests.
Mr Collyns said: “We will be doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our customers and our staff and the key message is to book a table.”
Other venues in the town are expected to follow similar guidelines and safety measures.
SWIM on Marine Parade will be operating as a dining-only venue for the time being and tables inside will have to be booked.
A statement on the restaurant’s social media said: “We hope you all understand and help us adapt into our new normal as quickly as possible. Please be patient and kind to our staff, we are all working very hard to ensure we are working as safely as possible for both you and our lovely team. We can’t wait to see you all!”
Other restaurants which have announced they will be reopening on July 4 include The Millside at the Town Mill, Italia in Monmouth Street, Antonio’s Trattoria on Church Street, and Largigi on Marine Parade.
See our ‘Shop Local’ campaign page for the latest list of Lyme Regis businesses that are now open.