'We'll be policing again': Pubs and restaurants on April 12 reopening

Heath Ball, landlord of The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, outside the "Christmas chalet".

Heath Ball, owner of the Red Lion & Sun - Credit: Polly Hancock

Local traders set to reopen on April 12 say they are excited to welcome back customers – but have warned “it’s not going to be business as usual”.

Non-essential shops can reopen on Monday, while restaurants and pubs can resume outdoor service – as residents look forward to the next phase of lockdown restrictions easing.

But businesses around Hampstead and Highgate, many of which have been shut for months, say that all the Covid-19 safety measures will make the reopening another logistical challenge. 

Heath Ball, who runs the Red Lion & Sun pub in Highgate, told the Ham&High: “We’re excited to get back open, but it’s just all the stuff that goes with it.

“It's going to be like before. We're going to have to be school teachers again, policing.


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“Everyone’s going to be so excited to be back but we’ve got to be there making sure everything is being regulated, and making sure we're compliant.” 

The Red Lion & Sun will have around 20 tables serving drinkers outside the front and back of the pub.  

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But Hasan Demir, the owner of South End Green restaurant Zara, is shorter on space and only has three outdoor tables, for a maximum of 10 customers.  

South End Green's streatery, which welcomed diners outside last summer, is not set to resume, Camden Council recently confirmed.  

“It’s going to be very difficult,” Hasan said. “We’re not going to make any profit and we’ll probably make a loss. But doing nothing is very boring.”  

Avril Castellazzo, who runs Highgate shop WCD Interiors, struck an upbeat tone.  

Avril Castellazzo, owner of WCD Interiors in Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Avril Castellazzo, from WCD Interiors - Credit: Polly Hancock

She said: “Highgate High Street has never been so busy and I am convinced this is set to continue.   

“The message of ‘shop local, and shop independent’ that was being pushed out before the pandemic, has now been consolidated because of the pandemic.

“I think that will only grow in strength.” 

Deanna Bogdanovic, from Muswell Business traders’ association, warned it wouldn’t be “business as usual”.  

Deanna Bogdanovic, Muswell Business.

Deanna Bogdanovic, from Muswell Business - Credit: Deanna Bogdanovic

“If there’s one positive that has come out of the uncertain economic landscape we’re facing then it’s that more businesses are beginning to understand and recognise importance of our local community and need to support each other,” she said.  

Lewis Freeman, chair of the Crouch End Traders’ Association, said he was “incredibly excited” to see more stores able to open on the high street, as he called on residents to support their local shops.

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