Rochford district prepares to welcome customers back to its pubs and restaurants

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Rochford District Council, Essex Police and local pubwatch schemes have been working together to support one another in reopening the 220 pubs, bars and restaurants across the district.
This is the latest phase of the ‘We Are Back’ campaign which is helping businesses across the Rochford District to re-open in a safe way that maintains social distancing, and gives customers the confidence to return. For the latest support and guidance for businesses, and advice for customers, go to
Some local venues have been running a takeaway service, whilst other pubs and restaurants have remained closed since the announcement of the lockdown.
On 4th July 2020, restaurants, bars and cafés can re-open, provided they comply with the guidance issued by HM Government on 23rd June. Some of the requirements will make it more difficult to simply walk into a pub or restaurant as you did before the restrictions. Similar to how supermarkets have changed their operating processes, the licensed trade have also been required to adapt to ensure they protect customers, staff and the public.
A number of venues have decided to delay their opening until 6th July or later that week. It is worth checking in advance of visiting to ensure the venue is open. 
Tony Lord, Chairman of Rayleigh Pubwatch, said: “All pubs and restaurants are having to change the way they operate, we appreciate that people want to socialise and have a drink or a meal in their favourite venues, but please remember that the venues have put measures in place to protect you and others.”
To protect customers and staff, many venues are implementing additional measures, including operating on a pre-booked service to ensure they manage the safe flow of people.
To help the district’s businesses report cases of the virus, the details of the person making the booking will be held by the venue for 21 days to comply with the requirements surrounding Track and Trace. Anyone attempting to walk into a venue without a pre-booked appointment may be turned away or asked to wait until a suitable table is available.
Please plan your evening in advance to save disappointment.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, Cllr Simon Wootton, said: “Rochford District Council has been putting in extensive work with our local Pub Watch schemes and neighbourhood police, working together to ensure customers can feel confident in returning to our local pubs and restaurants from 4th July. 
“This has included ‘Zoom’ meetings to support businesses in updating their risk assessments and taking the necessary measures to comply with the new regulations. These have enabled us all to share ideas, discuss best practice, and ask questions at the right time.
“It’s important to be aware that our pubs and restaurants will be run in a different way compared to before the lockdown, with many asking you to pre-book before you visit, so please be aware of these changes before you travel. 
“I would urge everyone to visit our website which has useful advice for both businesses and customers as we go through the process of re-opening our fantastic local high streets and shopping parades.” 
Planning to visit a pub or restaurant? Here’s what you need to know:
Contact the venue before your trip to see if they will be open and if you need to pre-book
Be aware that their capacity may be restricted
You may be required to sit at a table and not be served at the bar
The amount of time you can spend at the venue may be limited
Access to toilets may be limited
Cash payments may not be accepted
Staff may be wearing masks and gloves
They may ask you for your personal details to support the track and trace programme
The council has received funding for the We Are Back campaign from the Government’s ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’ which is providing £50 million from the European Regional Development Fund.