Buxton pub landlord excited to welcome customers back after months of closures

A Buxton pub has converted its car park to an outdoor seating area and modernised its payment methods in order to be ready to greet customers from April 12 when the lockdown measures ease.

Landlord of the Queen’s Head Hotel in Higher Buxton, Ian Howarth, says changes have been made to the pub in a bid to be able to reopen and he is just counting down the days until he can see the regular faces again.

He said: “It’s been the hardest year the pub industry has ever been dealt but the end is in sight and we’re so excited to be able to open the doors again and welcome people back to The Queens again.

"We’ve had to make changes of course we did but change isn’t always a bad thing and for us it was a chance for to look at what we are doing and modernise some aspects of pub life.”

The Queen's Head Hotel High St Buxton getting ready for opening. Landlord Ian Howarth.

As part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, April 12 will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises; public buildings, including libraries and community centres and of course the partial opening of pubs and hospitality venues.

The new guidelines state hospitality will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks like there was before and there will be no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Before Covid took its hold of the country The Queens had a car park at the rear of the hotel on the High Street. Now when customers return they will see 12 six-seater benches with heat lamps and umbrellas on the car park and the staff will be walking round offering table service and taking payment at people’s tables rather than going to the bar.

Ian said: “Our doors have been shut for such a long time and I can’t wait to hear the pub full of people again."

The Queen's Head Hotel High St Buxton getting ready for opening. Landlord Ian Howarth.

In May indoor hospitality will resume although the rule of six or two households mixing will still apply. The government said they hope to remove all restrictions on social contact by June 21.

Ian said "Things may have changed, we’ve had a lick of paint or two inside but we are still The Queen’s and I’m just counting down the days now till I can see old and new faces once again.”

Landlord Ian has praised the furlough scheme which has supported his staff during his challenging times and says with his business overheads it costs between £7,000 to £10,000 a month he is so ready to start pouring pints once again.

He added: “Pubs have suffered so much in the last year so when the doors reopen go out and support your local – lets keep our pubs open as we all know how difficult it is to be in hospitality normally with pubs closing regularly and now we need you back more than ever and we can’t wait to see you all.”

The Queen's Head Hotel High St Buxton getting ready for opening. Landlord Ian Howarth.

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