Leighton-Linslade businesses prepare for easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday
Pubs, cafes and restaurants can serve people indoors and people will be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
Leighton-Linslade businesses are preparing to reopen or serve customers indoors as of Monday when the next stage of lockdown restrictions will be relaxed.
Many companies are rejoicing as from May 17 pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers inside; indoor entertainment (museums, cinemas and children's play areas) will reopen; theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums will open; and organised adult sports and exercise classes will restart indoors.
Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can also reopen.
Commenting on the easing of restrictions, Roger Smith, owner of the White Horse B&B and pub in New Road, Linslade, said: "I'm looking forward to it! The garden is open now and the B&B is open for workers. It will be good to get the punters back inside because of the weather; it's been atrocious in April and May!
"My punters have been really supportive, out in the garden come rain or shine. I've got a TV in the garden with the sports on and a marquee with all the sides off.
"The B&B has got seven rooms and some of them are self-contained anyway. But I have three rooms which share the same hallway so I could only offer one of those.
"But come Monday we can use all the rooms, so that's great!"
As for socialising, people will be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, and overnight stays will be able to take place.
Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and other life events, and the number of people who can attend a funeral no will no longer capped. Instead, they will be determined by the size of the venue.
Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend a support group or parent-and-child group (not counting under fives), while care home residents will be allowed up to five named visitors, and more freedom for visits out of the home.
From 17 May there will also be a new green list of countries and territories.
On the gov.uk site it states that before you travel back from these countries to England you must: take a COVID-19 test, book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England, and complete a passenger locator form.
Talking about the impact on the travel industry, Chris Bailey, Managing Director of Bailey's Travel, Waterborne Walk, said: "There are 12 countries on the green list, but out of the 12 countries, 11 will not let you in. The only place you can go to is Gibraltar. And to access places like the South Sandwich Islands you need to fly via a red listed country, so that makes no sense.
"I wish the government would deal with the health of the population by shutting the borders, so we can restart the domestic economy. Then they could deal with the [travel] sector, and say, here's a bit of cash until we can get things started up again.
"I am entirely in favour of the government imposing travel restrictions. We should not be tolerant of this latest variant [the Indian variant]."
With the potential complications of foreign travel, Bailey's Travel has plenty on offer for UK breaks, including cruises stopping in places such as Edinburgh, Orkney, The Shetland Islands, and Belfast.
He added: "Thank you to my staff in Leighton Buzzard for keeping it going. I would like to say thank you to every customer that rang up to talk to us, every customer that knocked on our door.
"Jane who is my manager runs a very efficient operation for me and we are looking forward to welcoming everybody back in.
"We are still here and we are not going anywhere. We care about our customers and we are not going to do anything that puts them at risk."
Meanwhile, last month, a large number of the town's pubs reopened with outdoor seating; however, staff at the The Crooked Crow Bar have been waiting patiently, and are delighted to be reopening on May 17.
Speaking last month, Maxine Bambrook, of The Crooked Crow Bar, told the newspaper: "The Crooked Crow Bar is an Independent Events Bar and is reopening on 17th May. As well as opening as a work from home space and running our new, in-house Escape Room, we have a jam-packed schedule of events from live music, movie nights, quizzes, theatre, to stand up comedy and more.
"Having only opened back in January 2020, this has been a completely unexpected and challenging first year for us. But despite all of the hurdles, we were lucky enough to be one of the very few events venues that were able to trade through a lot of the restrictions. We had fantastic acts/bands perform and now have many more lined up to play. We are restricted to hosting seated/socially distanced gigs until 21st June, however these have proved so successful, we are going to continue them on even once all restrictions have lifted!
"Our Cafe Vibes events will be seated so that groups of friends can enjoy a sharing cheeseboard and a bottle of wine or a few cocktails with the best live music on the circuit! We have also teamed up with Gazza Records to host a night of neo-blues and soul once a month, and seeing some of the phenomenal talent that is lined up, we absolutely can't wait!
"That's not to say that we aren't excited to be able to get back to full capacity standing gigs on a Friday/Saturday night. As well as having a monthly event dedicated to showcasing the freshest, raw-energy new bands on the scene, we have booked some fantastic tribute, ska, rock, indie and party bands that will be sure to give our professional lighting rig and sound system a proper run for its money!"
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