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Beer gardens back in business

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By Fiona Reid
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Beer gardens back in business

PUBS across Dumfriesshire reopened for business this week with the community keen to show their support.

Although it’s not back to normal just yet, several pubs in the area opened their beer gardens and outdoor areas and were trading once again on Monday after been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lockerbie Black Bull owner Ian Mclatchie was the one of the first to welcome customers, with arrangements in place to help social distancing. He said: “It’s great to be back and welcome all the customers old and new. It has been first class.

“We had an excellent day on Monday, it has been good the following days too. It’s nice to see I’m getting fantastic support from the local community. I can’t thank them enough. It’s just myself who is working at the moment, with three staff still on furlough.”

In Lochmaben, The Crown Hotel opened their doors on Monday with a large number of locals enjoying their first pints since March. Publican Lorraine Carruthers admits she’s thrilled by the response from the community. She said: “It’s great to see so many familiar faces. It’s certainly light at the end of the tunnel. We were really busy on Monday and we’re hoping the community keeps supporting us. “We have a large beer garden so keeping social distancing hasn’t been an issue and we have a one-way system in place. Our food menu has been popular too.

“On Monday morning I was quite stressed thinking ‘how’s this going to work?’ and thought not many would turn up. But thankfully I was wrong. The support is much appreciated.”

And in Moffat, landlady Janie Seaton welcomed a steady stream of customers at The Black Bull Inn. She said: “Chatting with our lovely customers is therapy, catching up with old friends, making new ones, laughing and connecting socially in a new way is heartening and we are having a ball. Everyone has been kind and patient with us so a big thank you to all of you for bearing with us as we find our feet. “With more challenges and pressures, extra tasks and serving all our customers at table – we are effectively doing twice the job than before. We are learning, figuring it out, finding our way and it’s a process but everyone has been great and we appreciate it.”

Nigel Jackson from The Cressfield in Ecclefechan added: “It’s fantastic to be back and get some routine back into our lives. We had about 20 people in on Monday, it was a nice atmosphere and people have been appreciative . It’s going to be hard going forward but we’re still here and that’s the main thing. The next step is to get staff off furlough and get some form of normality back.”

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