Scarborough's hospitality businesses prepare to reopen
Excitement and relief is in the air as dozens of Scarborough hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes get set to open for the first time in months.
The area’s hospitality traders are hoping for a busy summer season so they can recoup some of the losses caused by the crippling impact of the pandemic. From May 17 they can open their indoor areas.
Rachel Walters, Business Services Manager for Scarborough’s Opera House Casino, Silver Dollar Amusements and Shaw’s Amusements, said: “We’re all very much looking forward to opening on Monday.
“This lockdown has been so hard on people in so many ways, especially with the cold winter months.
“Everyone is excited to be getting back to work and to some normality and, after seeing only a few weeks of trading last year, we’re hoping for a busy season!”
Hannah Hugill, General Manager at Grosvenor Casino Scarborough, said: “We’ve been counting down the days to reopening and every passing day has brought increased excitement.
"It has been a challenging time for all our team members, but we can finally look forward to reuniting again and getting back to doing what we love - creating a unique atmosphere for guests to have fun, play their favourite casino games and enjoy quality time together.
Andy Walker, of cafe Espresso Yourself on Falconer’s Road, said: “We’re really looking forward to being open again and for life to get back to normal.”
And Jackie Link, owner of Clock Cafe on South Cliff, said: “We can’t wait, to be honest, the sooner the better.”
Simon Kershaw, who co-owns the Bike and Boot hotel on Cliff Bridge Terrace with Simon Rhatigan, said everyone in the hospitality industry has missed their guests.
They have seen a gradual acceleration in bookings over the past few weeks.
“The staff have all been here this week training and setting up and getting ready. There’s a real feeling of excitement amongst everybody,” he said.
“Without people, we’re nothing. We don’t exist. The thought of getting people back in is just fantastic.
“I think there will be a party atmosphere going on next week. I get the sense that people are thinking ‘thank goodness’.”
Mark Dresser, who runs The Foulsyke Bistro in Scalby with his wife Sharon, said: “It’s just going to be such a relief to have our customers coming back in and enjoying themselves and getting away from their four walls that they’ve been stuck in for so long.
“It’s been an awkward time with no money coming in but it’s a time where you’ve got the time to renovate, which you can’t do when customers are here.
“We’ve done what we can, the place has had a lick of paint and a few alterations. We’ve made changes that we’ve wanted to do for a while, but haven’t had the time.
“There are bookings coming in now, it’s almost a relief to hear people saying ‘we can’t wait to eat out’.”
Rachel Akrill, who is co-owner and manager at The Green Room of Bar Street, said she is nervous but excited.
“It’s really strange to be ‘reopening’ after such a long time, we didn’t expect this lockdown to go on this long,” she said.
“We have such a good client base that kept our heads above water. From a personal point of view, it has been much more difficult because you’ve got a business and it’s closed and you are losing money through no fault of your own.
“It has been very difficult, but I guess everyone is in the same boat.
“I think businesses at the moment are excited and everybody is ready to reopen and have a great summer. It’s the beginning of the season, so for local people and businesses and hospitality it’s a big thing.”
Julian Rutherford, who runs Scarborough’s Vibe Bar, Mist Bar and Lounge and Hole in the Wall, echoed Rachel’s feelings.
“I’m nervous. It’s like everything is starting afresh,” he said.
“It’s literally the unknown. The whole industry has been decimated. Even trying to find staff – people are scared about being in this industry so trying to find good people has been hard.”
After a year of lockdown, he is also concerned people will think twice about going out to socialise, but urged people to support their local businesses.
“Some landlords have been doing this for donkeys’ years and now they don’t know what will happen. Their whole lives have been turned around. We need people’s support and help.”
The Government confirmed this week that, as of Monday, indoor hospitality and indoor entertainment can resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.
Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, and up to 30 people outdoors, and hugging friends and family is now allowed.
The final roadmap step, not expected to be made before June 21, would see all legal limits on social contact removed.