A MUIRKIRK pub set to reopen its beer garden this week has been left disappointed by the announcement of Phase 2 measures which gave little hope to the hospitality industry.

Last week, the First Minister said further advice would be issued on the reopening of bars and restaurants on July 2, but many workers across the sector were left deflated after hoping to open sooner.

Lauren Bone, bar manager of The Coach House Inn, has recently moved back from Vietnam and has taken the pub over from her parents, Frank and Audrey.

Lauren says the family-run pub, which has been open since the 1700s, is facing its biggest challenge ever.

Lauren said: “We were hoping the beer garden would open but we understand why it’s not. People ask us for updates but we don’t know anything until the briefings. The road map had said about beer gardens in Phase 2 so we put an order into the cash and carry last week as they were expecting to open, too. Luckily we could cancel it but it just shows you.

“We had quite a lot of measures in place ready to open but it’s given us a bit of extra time to make sure we’re fully ready. Our main concern is that we’ve been given no formal guidelines. The government need to issue something over the next few weeks as apart from the 2m distance, there’s nothing else to go by. We’ve put in place what we felt was appropriate but that doesn’t mean that every pub’s going to do the same.”

Lauren has made extensive renovations to the pub in lockdown, such as giving the guest rooms a refurb and painting the exterior.

She said: “We’ve made many improvements and given it a lick of paint. Locals have helped us out so it’s been a real community effort.

“We’re a small business so there’s a lot more riding on it for us. If we lose our customers, that’s it. I don’t want to go as far as putting barriers up between tables but when you’re in a local family-owned pub, atmosphere is everything. We don’t want to have to destroy that atmosphere but we want everyone to be safe.

“The pub has been up since the late 1700s and it has never closed. It’s survived two world wars, the great depression and the plague and for the first time since the 1700s we’ve had to close the doors.

“It’s the biggest challenge the pub has ever faced.”


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