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A number of Harrogate pubs have started to provide a takeaway service for drinks.
Yesterday (30 May 2020) saw the Coach and Horses along with Three’s a Crowd open on the West Park area and today the Coach and Horses and Blues Bar have been open.
There was a lot of people in support of the step and clearly enjoying the sun and being able to buy a beer.
It was unfortunate that the area of Stray opposite the West Park is not currently in-service. That would have dissuaded people congregating outside the pubs, as many pictures on social media have shown. There were also many comments about not socially distancing correctly.
The footpath was often partially obstructed on both the footpath by the pubs on West Park and across the road, by the Stray. That made social distancing difficult when passing. Some of the groups were also large and mixed, likely breaking the current rules on gatherings.
Although there has been criticism voiced on social media against the venues, they are not ultimately responsible for an individuals’ compliance with the current rules for coronavirus. They do have an obligation to not actively facilitate breaching the rules though.
There’s also the factor that if they were selling coffee and cake, it would be likely nobody would have looked twice. But then that would also have been less likely to encourage groups.
It is apparent people stood, as against sat at tables or on Stray, they are much more likely to break social distancing rules.
Three’s A Crowd took the decision to not have outdoor seating.
The coach and horses had their normal benches, some of the bar furniture and others had bought their own fold-out chairs.
It’s well known that bars and restaurant are likely to be one of the last sectors to return to normal working, and before working they are likely to have to operate with social distancing measures, giving a reduced income. Although there is a furlough scheme in place now, paying some of the staff salaries, the government has also indicated that during July they will expect employers to start paying a greater contribution – this all makes it very tough for them.
John Quinlan from Three’s A Crowd, said:
We opened Threes A Crowd offering a takeaway service following the licencing guidelines and the guidelines set out by the government.
The majority of our guests were sensible and followed the social distancing measures set out with only a few that decided to ignore these.
With the stray being closed directly opposite and people beginning to congregate we decided to close early and stop serving, asking people to disband.
It was unfortunately that we had to end the day early but felt this was the responsible thing to do. We all have to adhere to the rules and the safety of our community is our priority. We took it upon ourselves to clean up the street and public bins of any litter and waste, we love our town!
We are a community led establishment and wish to continue our successful business while following the guidelines set out for all of us.
We will engage to discuss the continued guidelines with the local authorities to maintain a safe environment for everyone.
The Blues Bar has also taken the step to open the bar on Montpellier with Sunday, 31 May being the first day.
The Blues Bar operated a one-in, one-out system and only three being allowed to queue at the door, ensuring that people can pass on the path. If the queue needed to be more than three, then they were directed to the grass area on the other side of the road.
The grass area in front of the Blues Bar has been used for outdoor drinking for some time now, and without problem.
There were masks and gloves available inside, and we will make sure that there is distancing.