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Hospitality firms praise first week of ‘outdoor only’ opening

Staff in PPE at The DEPOT

On Thursday 2nd July, the Welsh Government announced that bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants could begin to re-open outdoors in Wales from July 13, if cases of coronavirus continue to fall.

Now, after a full week of outdoor opening, hospitality businesses in Wales have thanked the Welsh public for their support and willingness to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

In Cardiff, alternative events venue The DEPOT welcomed more than 3,500 people to its socially distanced ‘street food social’. Customers were booked into three-hour slots, given temperature tests on arrival, and could order street food and drinks straight to their tables via a contactless payment platform called Yoello.

Socially distanced street food at The DEPOT

Nick Saunders, founder of the DEPOT in Cardiff, said: “It was brilliant to welcome people back to the DEPOT last week, only made possible thanks to the 50 staff we put in place across the bar, waiting staff, cleaning staff and security. We want to say a huge thank you to our customers who were brilliant at adhering to the safety guidelines we put in place, meaning everyone could enjoy themselves in a safe and pleasant environment.”

Outdoor dining at Dusty Knuckle in Canton

Debs Lewis, co-founder of the award-winning Dusty Knuckle Pizza in Canton said: “We are lucky enough to have a large outdoor space in Canton, so there weren’t too many changes for us to make to make the site safe for our customers and staff. We only had one no-show all weekend, and are a little overwhelmed at the volume of dough we got through and at seeing so many smiling faces again – it was an absolute joy to be back doing what we love.”

Mas Tu Fas at Wrights Food Emporium

Meanwhile, Wrights Food Emporium in Llanarthne has managed to turn the customer car park into ‘Mas Tu Fas’ – an outdoor dining experience with a maximum capacity of 30 covers.

Simon Wright, broadcaster, food writer and restaurateur said: “We are offering a weekly changing menu of 2-3 courses, for lunches from Thursday – Sunday; but we’re planning to do extra openings if the weather is fair. Our first weekend was a success, with brilliant support from our customers who all adhered to the social distancing guidelines in place.” 

Last week, the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) warned that many venues would still be unable to open under the current guidance from the Welsh Government.

A recent survey undertaken by the collective suggested that only 32% of its members were able to reopen under the current ‘outdoor only’ measures, meaning that thousands of jobs and livelihoods are still at risk.