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Guildford welcomes residents back for eating and drinking

Tomorrow (Saturday 4 July) pubs, bars and restaurants in Guildford will be ready to welcome visitors back for the first time since the country's lockdown in March to limit the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

As part of the restrictions, venues will reopen with new measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe. The measures will vary depending on the size and capacity of the venue, but will aim to ensure social distancing as per government requirements.

Anyone visiting pubs and restaurants will need to provide details, including name, contact details and the date and time of visit for the NHS Test and Trace campaign to help control the spread of the virus. This data will be stored securely by the venue for 21 days.

Later this month, some venues may adopt a more cosmopolitan atmosphere with tables and chairs being placed outside to allow for greater capacity while maintaining social distancing. 

Cllr Caroline Reeves, Leader of the Council says: "We are delighted to be welcoming our residents back to visit pubs and restaurants in Guildford. We have been working hard with our town centre partners Experience Guildford, Pub Watch and venues to make sure they are fully prepared to reopen. Supporting our residents and businesses is a key part of our work as a Council and it is wonderful that we are able to take small steps towards our borough's recovery.

"However, we continue to urge caution and remember it is early days. Please remember the experience will be different in order to follow the guidance, for example, you may need to book a space in a pub, not just a table in a restaurant - so please check with the venue before you travel in. There are likely to be queues, so do please be patient and think of others while queuing, many people live near pubs and restaurants and they could be key workers trying to rest after work. Our NHS and emergency services have worked very hard to keep us safe and have been under an enormous amount of pressure."

Cllr John Redpath, Lead Councillor for Economy adds: "Many venues will offer takeaway drinks and we know how wonderful our green spaces and parks are especially in the sunshine. Please enjoy them and make sure you take your litter and takeaway cups home with you, don't toss them for someone else to pick up.

"If you're using public transport to travel in and get home, please remember you must wear a face covering. We hope you enjoy yourselves and please drink responsibly."

Cllr James Steel, Lead Councillor for Tourism says: "Being the only town in Surrey to hold the Purple Flag award for our safe and diverse nights out, we know how much you will be looking forward to visiting our stunning historic town again. Please do remember this will be a different experience and everything will take a little longer. Later in July the government will confirm how venues apply for the outside licences which would enable our town centre to have a more cosmopolitan look and feel while encouraging social distancing. UK businesses are being encouraged by Visit Britain to apply for the free 'Good to Go' mark to show they have followed government guidance and I encourage those in our borough to do so. Our venues are so pleased to see you again, please respect them, our town and each other.  We hope you all have a great weekend."

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive of Experience Guildford says: "It has been difficult times for many sectors since the outbreak and hospitality is one of them. We are glad that they can begin to reopen to visitors. Pubs and restaurants will have new measures in place, so it may feel slightly different to what everyone is used to. For those visiting, it's important to plan your night ahead to avoid disappointment. Check journey times and visit the venues' websites for advanced bookings, opening and closing times. The taxi rank outside the Friary will be in operation for the public. Please be respectful to our venues and each other."

For a full list of pubs and restaurants that are reopening, please visit Experience Guildford's website

For more details on Visit Britain's Good To Go, please go to the Visit Britain website.

Should any visitor wish to make a comment or raise a concern about their visit to a licensed venue in Guildford, they may do so by emailing regulatoryservices@guildford.gov.uk.

Published on Friday 3 July.