PUBS and restaurants in Lyme Regis will be opening their doors on Saturday, July4 – but it will be an entirely different experience for diners and drinkers. The more expansive premises are definitely opening but there is some doubt whether the smaller establishments will follow suit despite the social distancing rules being reduced from two metres to one-plus.

Among those opening on July 4 are the Pilot Boat, SWIM, Lyme Bay Café Bar, the Harbour Inn, the Royal Standard, the Talbot Arms in Uplyme and the refurbished Rock Point, which all haveoutside seating areas.  For the smaller venues such as The Volunteer, the Nag’s Head and the Ship Inn, it will be more difficult to adhere to government advice, even though the distancerequired between tables has been reduced.

Lyme’s biggest pub/restaurant, the Pilot Boat, will reduce its indoor covers from 160 to 80 with additional room on its terrace where reservations will not be taken.

Licensee Robin Collyns has been working in the hospitality trade for 40 years.  He told LymeOnline: “I have managed through two recessions but nothing like this. We just don’t know how it will work out.”

The Pilot will open its doors from 9am to 10pm every day, Table reservations are required for dining which must include a main course per person. Each table will be reserved for one hour 45 minutes from the time booked. There will be no standing at the bar and all drinks will be served to the table. Those just requiring drinks do not have to book a table but will be offered one on arrival on a first come first serve basis.Every guest who comes into the Pilot will be registered. There will be limited space for dogs.A takeaway service for pizzas will continue to be available.The two-metre rule will still be observed between tables in the bar and restaurant, with tables on the terrace one and a half metres apart. A one-way system will be in operation throughout the building.

Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned at least every 30 minutes, there will be hand sanitizers throughout the building and tables will be disinfected between guests.

Mr Collyns said: “We will be doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our customers and our staff and the key message is to book a table.” Other venues in the town will be following similar guidelines.