People are being asked to support Southport’s superb restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, takeaways and cinemas after new 10pm closing times came into force today.
Hospitality businesses in our town have had their opening hours reduced as part of new local lockdown measures, announced by the Government last week.
But today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the 10pm curfew will be imposed for all hospitality businesses in England starting this Thursday. He expects it to last for the next six months as the Government battles to reverse rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
Takeaways must also close at 10pm, although deliveries can continue after this time.
Restaurants and bars in Southport have also been told that they can only provide food and drink to customers via table service from today.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “There is no doubt that our hospitality businesses are facing an enormous challenge, but we urge everyone to continue supporting them.
“Most of our town’s venues are independently owned and everyone is working hard to keep guests safe and to keep their business thriving.
“Whilst it is critical, as customers, that we are keeping within the guidelines and respecting staff, it is also important we keep our town and it’s amazing bars open.”
The Government will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail,
all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
Hospitality venues in Southport are now coming to terms with the new rule changes as they urged customers to continue supporting local businesses.
Paul Drewery, owner of Spender’s Bar on Scarisbrick in Southport town centre, said: “These challenging and worrying times still lay ahead for the hospitality trade, including ourselves.
“With the local lockdown taking place from today, and having to close at 10pm nightly until told otherwise, we will be closed this week coming on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We know the town is quite late for nightlife starting, usually from 10pm onwards around our section of town, but with some support from our loyal friends and customers, this could change.
“The Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of next week is entirely in your hands on whether it is worth opening on these days.
“Send us a message on Facebook if you would like to book a table, inside or outside at our brand new outdoor area, any of these days, open from 5pm and closing at 10pm so we can make a decision on whether it’s financially viable to open the doors.
“Please support local businesses. They and their staff need you more than ever.”
Ra, the Egyptian themed restaurant and bar on Lord Street in Southport has just created an imaginative way to keep customers safe while guaranteeing them a warm welcome.
Kelly Bond, the Manager at Ra, said: “The new rules surrounding bars and pubs having to now close at 10pm of course saddens us.
“But we have adapted to Government guidelines for the past three months and will continue to do so maintaining a positive attitude and remaining thankful for the constant support of our customers.
“We operate as a fully Covid secure venue and always strive to put the safety of our guests first. “It’s for this reason that In addition to our already implemented Covid safety measures, tomorrow we will install a new UV-c ultra violet LED Enviro Pure air converting system.
“This is the most effective way to eliminate harmful microorganisms like viruses and bacteria – and we hope this gives peace of mind to those who dine and drink in our premises.”
The Zetland pub, on Zetland Street in Southport, said: “With effect from Tuesday 22nd of September we will be operating under the new Government guidelines. When you come into the pub please find a seat and order your drinks by text and they will be brought to your table.
“We have also got to obey the new Government curfew so last orders will be at 9.30pm to abide by the 10pm curfew.”
Pippins Licensed Coffee House, on Chapel Street in Southport said: “As per the new rules, all restaurants, as from Tuesday 22nd September, will now only be able to serve customers at their table. Therefore, it is table service for the foreseeable.
“To help you all and to avoid confusion, we have designed a menu for every table to allow you to decide what you’d like.
“Please stay seated as much as possible and wait for a member of staff to serve you.
“Please also bear with us if we’re a bit slow too! This is a new system for Pippins to implement and we will do our very best to adapt ASAP!”
Hospitality venues in England last week (18 September) became legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.
Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from this Thursday (24 September) they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally this week.