Leighton Buzzard music bar welcomes 'first step back to a more normal way of trading'
'We have done everything we can to ensure our customers are as safe as possible'
A Leighton Buzzard live music venue has welcomed 'Freedom Day' but is proceeding with caution to protect its customers and staff.
The Crooked Crow Bar, Waterborne Walk, is hoping that today (July 19) is the "first step back to a more normal way of trading", with visitors now able to walk up to the bar, have a game of pool, and dance to a band.
This week the business has two stand-up performances from comedy legend Henning Wehn (July 19 and 20), as well as live music on Friday from Led Zeppelin tribute, The Mudsharks, and from The Zeroes - "the perfect band to dance to" - on Saturday.
Maxine Bambrook, of The Crooked Crow Bar, said: "We have done everything we can to ensure our customers are as safe as possible.
"We are keeping our hand sanitising and signing in stations, and have had a new air conditioning unit installed which circulates an outside airflow into the building.
"We recommend that our customers take a Covid test prior to attending events and that they do not attend if they are positive or are experiencing any Covid symptoms (full refunds will be issued where required). We are ticketing our first weekend's events to be able to keep numbers low."
Maxine added: "Whilst we cannot wait until we can be back at full capacity, I think it needs to be a gentler road back into it. We want to give everyone plenty of space to be able to stand and dance and get used to being around other people and still feel safe."
The bar has a jam-packed schedule of events planned for the rest of 2021, with big names such as John Otway, The Legends of Goldie Lookin Chain, and a guest DJ set from Rhoda Dakar (the lead singer of The Body Snatchers).
There will also be comedy, quizzes, movies, theatre, drag shows and live music from rockabilly, pop punk, rock, indie, and grunge, to hip hop, blues, originals, cover bands, and tributes.
Urging LBO land residents to keep supporting businesses through the pandemic, she said: "When the news came that the restrictions were to be lifted on 19th July, we were thrilled and relieved! As an independent events bar, we have been hugely impacted by the trading restrictions, hosting live music, comedy and other events at 30 per cent capacity to allow for social distancing and for everyone to be seated. It has been a long journey and we have been lucky to have had so much wonderful support.
"I am a little concerned that the so-called 'Freedom Day' isn't the end of the journey though. People understandably pretty anxious about things returning to normal whilst infection rates are high. The NHS track and trace app seems to be pinging half the country telling people to isolate, which creates huge problems with planning events and staffing etc.
"And whilst the government has financially supported businesses survival thus far, I am worried that from the 19th, when we have a full staffing bill and schedule of events lined up, we will be completely reliant on customer numbers and it may take time for people to want to return."
To find out about The Crooked Crow Bar's events, visit: www.crookedcrowbar.com