'Freedom Day': How Yarmouth's venues are adapting
Liz Coates Daniel Hickey
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
From July 19 facemasks and social distancing are no longer compulsory in most settings.
But that does not mean all the things we have got used to like one way systems, screens, regular table cleaning, and hand sanitiser stations will have disappeared overnight.
For many venues so-called Freedom Day will see only minor changes in the way people experience social gatherings.
With so much of it now just a part of our normal routine and a rise in cases across Great Yarmouth that sees both staff and customers at risk here is what is happening where:
The Lion at Thurne
This popular pub on the river at Thurne has constantly reinvented itself during the pandemic, adding dining greenhouses and expanding its outside area.
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The pub has said there will be no major changes.
A post on Instagram said the team will still be tested daily and may still wear masks. The post said table service will continue adding: "We will ask you please respect others and their space if they wish to still keep their distance."
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You will be able to order at the bar, but it will be free from stools. They will take groups of more than six but will keep the table layout and spread them over multiple tables.
The Palace Cinema, Gorleston
Owner Patrick Duffy was one of the first to ask customers to check temperatures at sister venue the Palace Bingo in Great Yarmouth in early March last year.
The cinema, on Gorleston High Street, will not be making any changes to its policies, other than bar service replacing table service.
Moviegoers will have their temperature checked on arrival and will be expected to wear masks when not seated.
The two-metre social distancing rule will also be kept in place.
The Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston
July 19 sees a return to full capacity for the venue on Pier Gardens but ticket holders will need to show a valid NHS Covid pass, which can be generated using the NHS App or by calling 119 to get a paper copy.
The pass shows as valid when someone has had a vaccination, negative test or has natural immunity.
Guests will be encouraged to wear masks while not seated.
The bar will remain closed while drinks will still be available via table service.
The situation will be reviewed on August 16.
As a predominantly outdoor attraction, mask wearing at Yarmouth Pleasure Beach has not been mandatory during the pandemic.
Visitors have, however, been limited to specific three-hour slots and they will remain for the duration of the season.
Co-director Aaron Jones said the park will not yet go back to having open-gate sessions.
"There are still quite a few cases, so we won't be removing all the Covid protocols we have put in place.
"With social distancing and the two-metre rule ending, we will be able to open up more seats on our rides which is obviously great for us.
"We will encourage mask wearing in the indoor areas but, at the end of the day, we will not enforce it."
Hemsby Beach Cafe
With a number of staff isolating the cafe is operating on an outdoor-only basis for the time being.
Owner James Bensly said he took the decision for the safety of staff, customers and the community as Covid-infection rates rose across the postcode.
With a diminishing number of staff he said it was the only way he could offer a level of service he considered safe. It means he has lost some 40 seats.
Staff will be tested before each shift and he made a plea to everyone to take personal responsibility and self isolate if they have a positive test.
Customers can order at the till and their food will be brought to them.
This pub, on Theatre Plain in Yarmouth, will have no restrictions.
While patrons are being advised to respect other people's space, they will be able to order at the bar.
The Bell, Hemsby
Owner Trevor Holland said that many of the restrictions will be kept in place as coronavirus is "rife" in the village.
"Table service will be encouraged. We're not encouraging bar service at all. We're not putting bar stools back," he said.
Staff will also continue to wear face-masks.
The pub just reopened on Friday (July 16) after being closed for eleven days when staff tested positive for the virus.
Landlord David Southey said masks will now be optional and that table service will be replaced by ordering at the bar or kiosk.
Guests will be allowed to dance again to live music.
Peggotty's, King Street
The venue will be split into two sections, with the front bar of six tables reserved for table service only, and the back of the premises open to ordering from and sitting at the bar without social distancing.
The dance floor will be open.
Staff will continue to wear face coverings or visors.
The Arc Cinema
Manager Derren Hodges said the cinema will be carrying on with the restrictions as before.
Guests will stick to social distancing, with one seat blocked off between bubbles so that nobody has to share an armrest with somebody from another group.
Customers will be recommended to wear masks while moving through the building but this will be personal choice.
All staff will continue to wear masks.
Mr Hodges said: "In response to rising cases, we think it's a common sense approach. It's basically nothing's changed for us."
The Ferry Inn, Stokesby
Visitors to the waterside watering hole will see little difference on freedom day.
People sitting outside can order at a single order point at the bar, but not linger. There will be table service for those sitting inside.
Screens are still in place. Landlady Alison Brewster said given the number of young people working there who were mostly single vaccinated she wanted to take a cautious approach.
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