'It is great to be back!' - Mansfield pubs reopen as lockdown measures ease
Mansfield and Ashfield’s pubs and hospitality venues were raising a toast on Monday when they finally welcomed back customers to drink and dine indoors for the first time this year.
The latest easing of restrictions also saw museums, theatres, cinemas, hotels, play centres and B&Bs reopen – while six people, or two households, are now allowed to meet indoors and people can get-together in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
Individuals are also now allowed to hug close friends and family, but have been warned to remain cautious when doing so amid concerns over the highly transmissible Indian variant of Covid-19.
And with May’s miserable weather continuing, many folk in the area made the most of being allowed to sit indoors in pubs, restaurants, cafés and bars this week.
For many venues, the latest relaxing of Covid-19 rules could not come a moment too soon.
Tamer Abouelela, owner of Ciao Bella on Nottingham Road in Mansfield said he was ‘very happy’ to be allowed back indoors especially as his customers had spent weeks battling the elements at his restaurant.
"It is great to be back inside!” he said.
"This weather has been so unpredictable over the past month, we could not wait to be able to open the restaurant properly.
"Staff have been doing their best to serve customers in cold weather and dealing with sudden rain, so we are very happy to be warm and dry indoors.”
Other venues in Mansfield – especially those without outside areas – were opening their doors for the first time in months and were excited to be able to return to pulling pints and seeing their regulars.
Owners of The Old Ramme, on Church Street in Mansfield town centre, Gary and Brian, showed solidarity with other pub landlords by visiting them on opening day – even sending flowers to management staff.
“We visited The Market, The Bowl in Hand and The Wheatsheaf to support local business,” said Gary.
"It was mine and my business partner Brian's idea, we wanted a way to show the pubs that couldn't open up that we are all in this together.
"We’re so happy to be open again after such a long time.”