With many of the borough's bars, pubs and restaurants set to re-open from this Saturday, Rochdale Borough Council is asking everyone preparing to visit to plan ahead, act responsibly and follow social distancing rules.
As lockdown restrictions on the hospitality trade ease, Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills & employment said:
"It's good to see our hospitality venues re-opening, which has been long awaited and I urge everyone to support them. We have some fantastic businesses in the borough but we must be sensible and act responsibly because obviously the easing of restrictions presents risks. I want people to recognise that they have a responsibility to themselves and to others. If you want to be able to go out and enjoy yourselves after this weekend then behaviour now is crucial, as the last thing we want to see after all the sacrifices people have made is an increase in coronavirus cases or a local lockdown."
'As safely as possible'
Pubs, bars and restaurants that are re-opening from this weekend have been busy making changes for everyone's safety. The council is advising you to contact venues before visiting as you may need to book a table. You should also be prepared to be asked for your contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace process. Venues will be operating at reduced capacity so there is space for social distancing and there will be no standing and drinking at the bar. Many venues are adding extended outdoor seating areas, with Packer Street, adjacent to Rochdale Town Hall Square being transformed into a pedestrianised continental-style outdoor dining area, as well as a small section of Nelson Street being closed. Customers are also being advised they may be served at a table rather than at the bar, to pay contactless where possible and that some venues may close earlier than usual.
Council licensing officers have been busy working closely to support businesses planning to open, visiting venues, reviewing plans, distributing posters and other materials as well as advising owners of steps they must take during the pandemic. Council officers and Greater Manchester Police will be stepping up patrols and visiting venues regularly.
Councillor Blundell added:
"It's really good to see our hospitality sector start to come alive once again. These businesses are critically important to our town centres and they provide a massive boost to the local economy, as well as supporting lots of jobs. I'm looking forward to socialising again at a safe distance, but of course some people will be cautious. That's why we have been working closely with our venues to help them re-open as safely as possible and why we are giving you the information you need before you plan your visit including what to expect and what our towns are doing to keep you safe. We all have a role to play to protect ourselves, families and neighbours. Coronavirus is still in circulation, so stay local where you can and take care."