The hospitality sector plays a vital part in our local economy which is why this week is so important to our pubs, restaurants, hotels, and B&Bs.
Now’s the time for all of us to show our support by enjoying a pint, a coffee or a bite to eat inside the many excellent outlets dotted around East Devon.
Since Monday, indoor hospitality has been able to reopen. That means all pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés can now allow customers inside their premises to enjoy food and drink. No more sitting outside a venue all togged up whilst grappling with a beer and a burger!
Indoor entertainment has also resumed too meaning cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and children’s play areas are once again open for business.
It’s been a tough time for these local businesses. Government grants and VAT cuts have helped, and I’ve received many emails from business owners who found the government’s financial assistance a life saver.
Where possible, local hospitality businesses have shown outstanding resilience and creativity over the last few months by constructing and enhancing outside areas for drinkers and diners. The government encouraged this and cut red tape as a way for many businesses to re-open and get back into the swing of things.
This incurred an additional expense for many, depended on the weather, and required a flexible approach from local councils. In most cases, this flexibility has been provided (even if it did take some persuasion) and I hope we will see this enlightened attitude continue.
It’s been hugely encouraging to see the pavements and beer gardens with customers over the last few weeks drinking and dining al-fresco.
As the pandemic restrictions ease this week, I urge you to book a table and enjoy a meal inside.
These businesses are safe and have pulled out all the stops to follow regulations to ensure their customers and staff are fully protected. On top of this the ongoing success of our vaccination programme means many of us, including the more senior and vulnerable members of our community, have additional protection against this virus.
Please do what you can to embrace this week’s easing of the pandemic restrictions and support our hospitality sector which is so vital to local jobs and our economy.
I have every intention of visiting as many places as possible to talk to business owners and enjoy a pint or a coffee. Collectively, we all need to play our part in getting East Devon fully open again as we get the country back on track.