It has now been over a year since the last night the pub was open. I remember thinking we were only going to be closed a few weeks at the time – but still wondering how on earth we all would cope. Yet here we are over a year later with a much deeper understanding of just how resilient we all are.
We are very much looking forward to opening again soon – and having more nights like the 20 March last year. Although we all knew it was going to be the last time we saw each other for a while, the night was far from melancholy!
Since we last opened our doors the whole world has been through such a vast amount of change.
This time last year I was happily able to sell drinks from the pub door as off-licences were deemed ‘essential’ after pubs were closed on the 20th March, and we entered full lockdown on the 24th.
I was also kept busy with home deliveries – the first time we’d ever offered such a service & now it’s our only way of trading! I had a brilliant time rummaging through my fancy dress cupboard and coming up with new outfits to wear for my deliveries. I hope it put a smile on people’s faces to see me cycling around the local area dressed as anything from a whoopee cushion to a pirate!
Our usual open day had to be cancelled but we managed to raise double what we would usually raise for St Elizabeth’s Hospice on our open day. (We’ll be doing this again this year too).
Then in July when other pubs were able to open their outdoor spaces and some indoor spaces if there was room for social distancing and good ventilation (neither of which we have). We made the difficult decision that if we were going to reopen we HAD to do it in a way that we could guarantee the safety and enjoyment of our staff and customers. The magic of The Sweffling White Horse has always been that you can come in for a chat with a stranger & enjoy some music or entertainment & we didn’t want to reopen without those things. So we carried on with our off-sales and deliveries and stayed patient.
In October, the tiers were brought in, and pubs could only serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’. This was when we started investigating the idea of opening a live music venue – which we managed to pull together in December for two amazing events – before the new year lockdown. The Sweffling Mule in the campsite/garden was long in the planning and short in the opening but such a lovely window of joy in 2020!
Since then, with lockdown no.3, it’s been home deliveries only. Though finally, it feels like we are on the path to normality. With the easing of restrictions soon to be implemented we’re getting closer and closer to welcoming you back to the pub….and we can’t wait!