Will Suffolk restaurants be keeping Covid rules after July 19?
- Credit: Claudia Gannon
Restaurants and pubs will no longer have to enforce Covid measures from next week - but some Suffolk venues are retaining them to prevent further lockdowns.
Mask-wearing and social distancing will no longer be legally required indoors from 'Freedom Day' on July 19 after Boris Johnson confirmed the lifting of most restrictions on Monday.
However, some Suffolk restaurateurs have committed to keeping measures in place - while others are considering their options to safeguard against potential future closures.
Steve Haslem, who has had to close Ipswich Waterfront's Wiff Waff for 10 days due to positive Covid tests, has said workers will wear masks and customers will be encouraged to do so from next week.
He said: "They're saying we could have 100,000 cases a day, which would mean one million people in isolation. That could be the final financial straw.
"It's our duty to protect where possible. We know it's going to be wild so we're putting layers in to protect ourselves.
"The impact of any closure will be very hard."
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Brendan Padfield, who runs the Unruly Pig gastropub near Woodbridge, believes Covid measures could still be reintroduced later in the year and will continue to ask diners to wear masks.
Mr Padfield said: "We will maintain social distancing and temperature checks. I fear this is just a temporary relief and, when infections are doubling, I want to maintain our reputation as the safest restaurant in Suffolk.
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"I'm choosing to do my bit to keep my customers and staff safe. We're not going to be dictatorial, but the rules are the rules."
K Bar's Richard Everitt, who has recently been forced to close his Ipswich venue due to a Covid case, said he is "mulling over" keeping measures and is consulting with his frontline staff.
He said: "We've had to close for 10 days, so we've got some time to think about it.
"We're mulling it over and weighing it up. For those that want to wear a mask, that is absolutely fine.
"It's a difficult one. Who we're mainly consulting are our frontline staff, who have to speak to customers face-to-face.
"Another closure will be the death knell for many."
The Greyhound near Ipswich's Christchurch Park is also keeping table service beyond the end of legal restrictions.
Landlord Dan Lightfoot said: "We're going to keep table service for now. For us, we were going to have people queuing at the bar.
"We've been able to double the size of the pub with the outside seating.
"It will be more practical for us to do it this way. It will be a mixture of rules as we ease back into normality."
Ross Parrock, of the Anchor Inn, in Nayland on the Suffolk-Essex border, added: "There will be no change at all from us. We're sticking to our Covid procedures, such as mask wearing, table service and temperature checks.
"It's purely for safety reasons. The majority of our staff haven't had both vaccinations and a lot of our customers could be at risk.
"Until we see a substantial drop in cases, we won't be dropping our procedures. We think it's too soon.
"The biggest risk to our business is closure."