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Lockdown restrictions eased further for Welsh hospitality industry

By Dominic Robertson | Welshpool | Coronavirus | Published:

After four months people in Wales can sit down inside a pub and drink a pint.

Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire, pulling a pint at the Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool with general manager Chris Birdsell-Jones (right) a socially-distant two metres away.

At the Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams joined staff to pull the first pint poured at the establishment's bar since lockdown began.

General manager, Chris Birdsell-Jones, said they had been delighted to finally welcome back the public, and that it had been a busy first day for the hotel, bar and restaurant.

He said: "It has been really positive for us. It is simply brilliant, we have a lot of guests travelling quite a distance to come and stay with us, we are almost full and the occupancy levels are great."

Like many other hospitality businesses a host of special measures have been put in place to keep customers safe, to make them feel comfortable, and to protect the staff.

Mr Birdsell-Jones explained that all guests had to give names and telephone numbers, which are recorded with times and dates of arrival and the part of the bar they sit in as part of track and trace precautions.

All service is table service and an app has also been developed for those who want to sit outside and order a drink without venturing inside.

Mr Birdsell-Jones said that the customers had recognised the efforts taken to make them as safe as possible.

He said: "The guests have been really, really good, and really supportive. They are appreciative that we have gone the extra mile and that the social distancing and the protective measures we have put in place are there."

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The business is also taking advantage of the government's money-off meal scheme, an initiative Mr Birdsell-Jones praised, and said had already proved beneficial to the Royal Oak.

He said: "We are getting guests back in with the meal offer and that has been very successful. We are fully booked for the next few evenings."

Mr Birdsell-Jones said that there was also a sense of camaraderie between hospitality businesses as they all attempt to bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

He said: "I called a couple of our competitors yesterday to see they were alright and one of ours popped in today to see how we were and to give us a bit of advice on the procedures they have put in place. It is a time where we can all share advice and help each other."

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