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It's good to be back but don't blow it, warns Shropshire landlord

By Nick Humphreys | Shrewsbury | Coronavirus | Published:

A landlord has raised a glass to the return of the pub trade, but warned drinkers ‘you must stick to the rules’.

Kaz O'Callaghan pulls a pint at the Wild Pig in Shrewsbury

It came as one pub said it was banning under 21s after younger drinkers failed to stick to social distancing rules at the weekend.

Pubs up and down the land have welcomed back drinkers, who had to get used to the new normal of 2m queues, hand sanitiser on entry, signing in with details for contact tracing and chatting from a distance – a far cry from the usual hustle and bustle.

None of that stopped regulars at The Wild Pig in Shrewsbury, many of whom arrived before the 12pm opening time on Saturday.

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Regulars at The Wild Pig pub in Shrewsbury raise a glass

There was an excitable and cheery atmosphere from the get-go, and staff were happy to be back.

But landlord James Hopkins is hoping drinkers in pubs everywhere stick to distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and to help keep pubs open.

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He said: “I think the message is if we can keep everyone safe, we’ll be able to stay open, so hopefully for that reason people will keep following the rules.

Manager James Hopkins at The Wild Pig in Shrewsbury

“It might get more difficult in weeks to come as more people start coming out. I’m sure we’ll probably have to turn people away. It goes against everything in business when you’re trying to make money but we’ve got to keep people safe.”

Meanwhile, landlord at the Crown at Coleham in Shrewsbury, Luke Perks, has banned under 21s from his pub after groups ignored social distancing.

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Mr Perks said: “Due to the complete disregard to social distancing by a certain demographic of customers, you will now have to be 21 and over. I will not allow individuals to put my staff and customers at risk.”

Most did follow the rules and it was a relief for many to be back at the pub.

Ben Young, Rob Baker and Josh Chard at the Wild Pig

Rob Baker was one of the first through the doors at the Wild Pig and said: “I’ve been waiting three-and-a-half months for this. It’s been a lot of tinnies at home but it just doesn’t taste the same. It’s a lot cheaper to drink at home but it’s about getting out and seeing people.”

Louella Hartshorn felt the distancing measures were straightforward and should give people confidence that it is safe to go out for a drink.

She said: “It seems like it’s been set up well and they show you the way to go round. We thought we’d just come and test the waters today.”

Spirits were high too at The White Hart pub in Ironbridge, where staff were happily serving customers while wearing face shields.

Elsewhere, hairdressers were hard at work chopping out of control lockdown hair into shape.

Masks and faceshields were plentiful, and many salons and barbershops operated from as early as 8am to 10pm to deal with demand. Some of the first weddings also took place, including Tracie Kenny and Neal Arden in Ironbridge.

Because of social distancing, Tracie had to show off her ring to her parents through a window.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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