Horncastle area businesses say cheers to a successful weekend as they re-open to the public

Dozens of delighted punters headed back to their favourite local pub, cafe or restaurant at the weekend - as they embraced the ‘new normal’ for the very first time as the industry adapts to Covid-19.
The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151308001The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151308001
The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151308001

While many non-essential businesses were allowed to open several weeks ago, on Saturday (July 4) if was the turn of the pubs, restaurants, cafes and hairdressing salons to open their doors again, if they had suitable arrangements in place.

Business owners have reflected on how the so-called ‘Super Saturday’ panned out - and they were pleased with their punters.

The News spoke to Rainer Barnes, director of Harpar’s Bar, in Horncastle.

Tanya Papworth owner of Tanya's and Susan Jennings EMN-200607-150627001Tanya Papworth owner of Tanya's and Susan Jennings EMN-200607-150627001
Tanya Papworth owner of Tanya's and Susan Jennings EMN-200607-150627001

He said: “Yeah, it went an absolute treat, I think it was fantastic.

“Both days were really busy which was exceptional.

“It took us awhile to get used to the new way of doing things because we had to follow the guidelines but once we got into the swing of things it was fantastic.

“We opened 10am on the Saturday and we had people in all day. It was cracking and went down really well.

Hayley Rennie of The Bull Ring Barbers EMN-200607-150605001Hayley Rennie of The Bull Ring Barbers EMN-200607-150605001
Hayley Rennie of The Bull Ring Barbers EMN-200607-150605001

“We had lots of positive feedback, everyone felt safe with the measures we put in place. We’re very very happy.

“We’ve just gone back to normal opening hours as usual.

“We are open all day Saturday and Sunday and open at 5pm in the week.

“We are thinking of opening all day during the summer as we have the lovely extended beer garden and whilst the sun is shining and people are on furlough they may want to pop down.”

The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151246001The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151246001
The Bull Hotel Horncastle EMN-200607-151246001

For Tim Miles, landlord of The Bull Hotel, trade was steady over the weekend - but he was delighted to see some familiar faces.

Tim said: “It was just sort of a steady trade, nothing too busy.

“It was just nice to get back to the routine of things.

“It was nice to see a few familiar faces.

Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-151059001Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-151059001
Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-151059001

“Everything went well. People didn’t mind too much; they just followed the rules as they wanted to keep safe as well.

“We are open every day with reduced hours and closing earlier in the evenings but nothing too drastic.”

Barrie Jenkinson, from The Bridge Tea Room, was also pleased to be back serving customers.

He said: “Realistically I didn’t know what to expect but it was a good weekend. We had a lot of good customers.

“One customer spoilt the whole weekend basically. They just didn’t want to do what was expected of them.

“We will be back to normal opening hours if trade continues like it is at the moment then normal hours will continue.”

Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-150830001Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-150830001
Harpars Bar Horncastle EMN-200607-150830001

While many were itching to get back to their local for a pint and a homecooked meal, some had a more important appointment lined up - sorting out their hair!

After three months with no salons or barbers, many will be needing a good colour and cut - and thankfully Kate Liddy from Hair & Beauty by Kate, in Woodhall Spa, was on hand to help.

Kate said: “I started at around 7am on Saturday.

“It was lovely to see all of the clients, I had really really missed all my clients more than anything - more than the work itself.

“I love my job but I really love being around people. I loved being able to see them and catching up.

“I think they (customers) found it a bit different, a bit clinical maybe with all the safety measures in place.

“We are open seven days a week to fit people in.

“I’m pleased to see everyone, but obviously it is different. It feels more normal to be surrounded by people than being locked in the house.”

The lockdown also meant that Kate couldn’t celebrate a milestone year for her business.

She explained: “My last day of trading was March 21 which was 25 years to the day that I opened my shop.

“Because of social gatherings my anniversary hasn’t been celebrated so maybe I will celebrate 25 years +1 next year.

“It didn’t feel right to celebrate 25 years when people were dying.

“I’m pleased to be with my work colleagues again.”

It was also business as usual for Julie Rouse, Manager at Kitchenetta, in Woodhall Spa.

She said: “Our main business is coffees and lovely homemade cakes and before lockdown a really big breakfast menu, with eggs benedict and avocado and eggs and lots of things like that, but we’ve come back with a smaller menu as we have slightly fewer staff and shorter hours just whilst we get back on our feet.

“We saw lots of customers, lots of our regulars and lots of different faces as well, but everyone was absolutely brilliant because we obviously have to lose some of the tables inside and out to keep to the metre distancing.

“We have some big screens outside now so the tables are more like booths, just to make everyone feel more secure.

“We have to adapt the business, I know a lot of people have had to adapt and do different things. It’s made us have a think and simplify some things so we have reduced the menu. It might be something we keep on board because we are a tiny place but we used to do so much and so many things were on our menu so we had to do so much prep and we were prepping all of the time.

“It’s made us take stock and realise that we were trying to do a bit too much.”

For Adrian Boddy from The Black Swan, in Horncastle, life in lockdown has been different - but an enjoyable experience.

He said: “I’ve lived a normal life for a month, going to bed at 10pm at night and waking up at 7.15am it’s been great!

“The other thing is that my girlie works in HR a long way away so I never ever go to bed with her, we’ve been able to cook together, we’ve been out riding together, it’s been fantastic.

“On Saturday, the coke machine wasn’t working and it was warm.

“All things that were meant to go wrong went wrong like the coke machine not working but it was great.”

“The pub looks amazing and most people were happy and asked ‘am i in a different pub?’

“During lockdown, I painted it twice, and didn’t like it the first time.

“I’ve painted the ceiling I think four times. Side walls twice with different colours. Then my mum walked in and said the floor would look nice if it was darker so I sanded the whole floor and painted it darker. It does look amazing, I am so proud.

“It was just nice for people to walk in and say right, you’ve done a really good job.

“I actually walked out at midnight and thought CRIKEY there’s more people in this town!

“I’m doing reduced hours until 10 over the weekend.

“People have been very respectful and everyone has played the game.

“It’s been great, I have some really good customers and we all know how important it is to be respectful .

“It’s been a very refreshing change for me to see some other people.”

For some, like Hayley Rennie from Bull Ring Barbers, lockdown has meant finding new passions and hobbies.

Hayley said: “Saturday was very overwhelming.

“What we did like about the public is that everyone did what they were told and there were no quarms.

“I suppose it’s all just routine for everybody now we are used to queuing up and washing hands.

“It’s been back to back which it was going to be anyway.

“You miss your customers when you’ve have 15 weeks off.

“I came in at 6.30am but we are starting to open until 4 on a Saturday and it even ran over that time which it will.

“We’ve opened up an appointment system Monday to Friday just so we could be safe.

“That has gone a little bit out of the window because if there is a gap and people turn up wanting their hair doing you don’t turn customers away so it pretty much is more of an organised walk in system really.

“We’ve been cleaning and leading up to opening.

“During lockdown at home I’ve just become a gardener, a chef and a cleaner.

“Obviously it’s nice to get back but the other thing is we are actually moving premises.

“We haven’t got anything signed yet as such but we are supposed to be moving into the Market Place (next to the key cutters) so that is something we want to spread the word about.

“The new location will be a lot better and more centralised.”

Tanya Paworth, from Tanya’s, said although normality is a long way off she enjoyed seeing customers again.

She said: “Yeah we had a really good day.

“We were all really nervous but we had a really good first day and I was actually really pleased.

“We had some really nice comments from customers about them feeling safe and welcome and our set up was very well organised.

“It was a really good day and everything went to plan.

“I’ve been here nearly five years now and we’ve just had to adapt to a whole new working system.

“I think that was probably the nervous thing about it because you normally just get into a normal routine, then it’s just taken away and obviously you have to keep yourself safe and keep the customers safe, and have a safe working environment as well.

“To be honest I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.

“It was really nice to see some customers back and they said it was nice to be back as well.

“It felt like we were getting back to some form of normality although we are a long way off.

Sarah Green, Bar Manager at Bar Eleven, Woodhall Spa added: “Yes we did have good trade it was really good to see our regulars back, we weren’t overly busy.

“We were busy but we had a nice steady flow of people and because we can only accommodate so many people, it’s never going to be busy like we used to be busy. “It’s the new norm.

“Everyone is listening to the rules and sitting down and behaving themselves.

“We have learnt a few things we needed to tweak and change but overall really happy.

“It’s just so good to see our locals and our locals were really happy, and some tourists,

“Woodhall Spa still has some tourists which is fab.

“The village was busier but I like to think all of our customers left feeling happy and safe.

“It’s so good to be open and it’s really good to be open again, it’s been a long time.”

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