A LANDLORD has said he’s thrilled to be able to welcome back the regulars at a country pub near Bromyard in rural Herefordshire.

John Oliver only took over at the Green Dragon in Bishop’s Frome last year and was relieved to be able to reopen the doors of the pub today (Saturday) after lockdown restrictions were eased in England.

Mr Oliver said that while he was glad to have reopened, the changing guidance from the UK Government didn’t make it an easy process.

Originally, it was suggested that when pubs reopened punters would only be allowed outside in beer gardens, then table service was suggested, before finally it was said drinkers could order pints from the bar.

“It was the lack of what we could and couldn’t do. Originally, we were going to be outside and have a pop-up bar to go outside.

“But then on the day we all knew the announcement was going to come, he [Boris Johnson] said it’s one metre and you can do what you like.

“As you can see, we’ve done it, but it’s a difficult and old pub to marshal."

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He added: “At one point when they say it’s going to be table service only, I would have had to have five members of staff here. For the day, that would’ve cost me £500.

“I couldn’t open on that, there’s no way we’re going to do it. But then it’s said you can order a pint at the bar and go and sit down.”

One challenge for landlords has been to know what to expect as they were able to reopen for the first time since March 20. Mr Oliver said it had been “a busier Saturday than normal” but hasn’t been what he would call “really busy”.

Another of the problems has been knowing how much stock to order but Mr Oliver, who has only been at the helm since December 2019, is working closely with his local suppliers to ensure drinks aren’t wasted should a more strict lockdown be reintroduced.

He added: “You keep that in your mind, that’s why the cellar only runs at a barrel.

“There will be complaints, but there won’t ever be anyone who means it when I say I’ve run out of something.”