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‘It’s total madness’: Cafe and bar owners have mixed feelings over tomorrow’s re-openings

PUBLISHED: 18:13 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:18 04 July 2020

Owner of the market cafe, Nando, said that he had

Owner of the market cafe, Nando, said that he had "no idea" how things would go tomorrow, but that he'd be putting tables outside and inside in the hope that people show up and embrace some sense of normality. Photo: Sarah Burgess

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Cafe and bar owners across Great Yarmouth are feeling nervous and excited in equal measure about this weekend’s grand re-openings - with most admitting they have “no idea” what to expect.

Gail Taylor, from Peggoty's Bar, said she was Gail Taylor, from Peggoty's Bar, said she was "extremely excited to welcome customers back, and that all staff had been given thorough training on how things would work under social distancing measures. Photo: Sarah Burgess

For the owner of the Market Cafe, known locally as Nando, tables will be placed both inside and out on Saturday morning. But it’s still a case of “waiting and seeing”.

He said: “Truly anything could happen. We opened last week for takeaway - and while there are people coming in for one of our uniquely massive toasties, we’re not swept off our feet.

“I think a lot of people here want chips and are happy with chips, so we’ll just have to wait and see how my teacakes go down on July 4.”

Likewise, Gail Taylor, owner of ‘Luck, Lust, Liquor and Grinds’ but operating under the trading name of Peggoty’s Bar, said staff have “no idea what to expect” when she opens for the first time after taking over the bar during lockdown.

Nuno, from Nicola Cafe, said that the Portuguese community in Great Yarmouth Nuno, from Nicola Cafe, said that the Portuguese community in Great Yarmouth "love sitting down for a coffee and socialising", but they may be disappointed when he tells them there is a time limit on how long they can spend before having to leave the shop come Saturday. Photo: Sarah Burgess

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She added: “Including our beer garden and inside tables, we’ve got a capacity of 73. Already, 50 people have made reservations for Saturday.

“We’re really excited for people to see what we’ve done with the place. But other than the pre-bookings we already have, I’ve got no idea what to expect with regards to how busy we’ll be.”

Meanwhile, according to Nuno - manager of Nicola Cafe on Regent Road - he’s “not sure how kindly Portuguese customers will take” to being told they can’t sit and socialise at one of his tables for hours on end.

He said: “Most of my regulars are Portuguese, and they love to sit and chat in big groups over coffee. They’ll be disappointed to find out there may have to be a time limit on how long they can spend on the premises. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

Tom, who works at Fish'o'licious, said it's been Tom, who works at Fish'o'licious, said it's been "madness" trying to get everything in place for tomorrow, but that hopefully everything will run smoothly. Photo: Sarah Burgess

“Generally, I am nervous for Yarmouth as I don’t want a repeat of Leicester. I’m afraid for when the holiday makers come. I just hope people keep a level head and don’t go crazy once the pubs re-open.”

Tom, who works just up the street at Fish’o’licious, said the process of getting ready for eat-in customers under social distancing regulations had been bewildering.

He said: “The whole thing has just been bizarre. I’m so excited but we don’t actually know if it’s all going to work yet. We’ve got the cleaning regime in place and the screens up, but it’s still a shot in the dark.

“There could be a rush, or people might remain cautious. It’s total madness.”


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