MANY of Cumbria’s bars opened this weekend for the first time since the start of the lockdown in March, reporting a steady trade with each introducing social distancing measures to combat the virus.
Cumbria police said that even though there were a number of incidents across the county they “probably compare to an average Saturday night before the restrictions”.
Many of the city’s pubs however remained closed. The Sportsmans Inn, on Heads Lane, for example, said it would not open until August 1 and Bar Solo, on Botchergate, won’t open until July 16.
Pub-goers Seamus Gallagher and Tain Cleland were waiting outside the JD Wetherspoon pub the Woodrow Wilson, in Botchergate, for seats to become available at lunchtime.
The bar was limiting the number of people who come come in at any one time.
Seamus said: “I think it is a good idea to open the pubs – they have to open up some time.”
Tain said: I’m a bit scared to be honest because we don’t know what is going to happen. That is why we are going in early.”
The manager of Botchergate’s BrewDog bar, Lynn Candlish, said people were adhering to Government advice and being sensible.
She added: “I think it has run very smoothly, very sensible – we’re just pleased that they are back again.”
Christine Kirkpatrick, landlady of The Globe Inn, Whitehaven, said: “We opened yesterday. It was quite quiet but it was nice, we are quite a small business and can only allow a certain number of people in.”
Chris Hart, manager of The Cranemakers pub, on London Road, Carlisle, said: “It has not been so bad – we’ve had a few people in, people following the rules, no palava. So far they have got the gist of what they need to do, no complaints.”
Dianne Irving, owner of the Howard Arms on Lowther Street among other venues said: “We’ve put in a lot of extra social distancing measures in place and we’ve done a risk assessment.
“With the measures it puts us down by about six tables which I don’t think is good for us.
“It has been a difficult couple of months but at least we are open now.”
The bar has also put in place a one-way system to help with social distancing.
Steven Hart, who runs the Circle Bar in the city’s Lowther Arcade, is also another bar that took the plunge.
He said: “We are going to see how things go really. Because of the scaffolding in the arcade we have just got an inside seating area.
“It is table service only and we are fully booked up.”
In Maryport, the manager of The Golden Lion Hotel, Mike Tewane, said: “It was good, we were booked out.”
Yesterday morning police reported that there were 34 detainees in custody across Cumbria, although that was for all offences, not just offences “linked to the night time economy”.
Yesterday Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “We had an increased police presence out yesterday in city and town centres to ensure the smooth reopening of venues. We’d like to thank those who behaved responsibly and followed the guidelines to ensure we all stay safe.
“We did see some incidents where we had to attend pubs and deal with crimes, but these were in low numbers. What incidents there were probably compares to an average Saturday night before the restrictions – certainly it didn’t compare to an event like New Year’s Eve or a major bank holiday.
“We did have a number of assaults and a number of arrests for suspected drink driving, as we unfortunately might expect on an average weekend.
“It’s been a challenging few months for everyone and we all understand many people want to have a night out.”