The Magdala returns as pubs and restaurants reopen indoors on May 17
- Credit: Polly Hancock
The Magdala reopened on May 17 as pubs and restaurants across Hampstead and Highgate welcomed customers indoors.
Monday saw lockdown restrictions ease under the latest stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Museums, cinemas and galleries welcomed back customers inside for the first time this year.
Dick Morgan, the landlord of the Magdala who was born and bred in Hampstead, said: “To see customers back is what it’s all about. It's lovely.”
A former paper boy for the Ham&High, and former head boy at Haverstock School, Dick, 70, said his local roots made the reopening of the pub in South Hill Park – closed since 2014 – all the more special.
“It’s taken two and half years of negotiation but here we are. It’s nice to put it all together," he said.
Kazia Mckevitt, manager of the Everyman Hampstead cinema, called it “weird” but “amazing” to see people back in front of the big screen.
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“We've got a really residential cinema so there’s lots of locals that live here,” she said. “They've been waiting for a while for it to reopen so everyone’s just really happy.
“You can obviously only see half their face but everyone looks really excited, which makes our job worth it.”
Piccola owner Salvatori Scicchiano said he was "grateful" to greet locals at long last.
“Having had one year out of business it's been very tough to keep the restaurant running and avoid closing the door for good – but we managed to do it," he said.
“We are so pleased to welcome our customers back. They’ve been waiting for it, and we've been waiting for them to come back.
“It feels like we all need a few hours to get used to things again as it’s been such a long time, but we’re just so grateful to be here again.”
In West Hampstead, the mayor of Camden Cllr Sabrina Francis helped cut the ribbon to mark the reopening of the Alliance pub.
Camden’s deputy mayor Cllr Lorna Russell tweeted: “Delighted to welcome @mayorofcamden to Fortune Green for the official reopening of the wonderful @TheAlliancePub.
“So pleased to see the return of hospitality indoors!”
People in England are now able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and indoors in groups of six.