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When will life start to return to normal? A message on Facebook on 24th June from The Black Bull provides a glimmer of hope. It is in response to the PM’s announcement, repeated in Lowick.Live, that restaurants and pubs may open on July 4th for customers if they can meet current requirements for social distancing.

The Management of the Bull is currently thinking out its next steps, presumably considering how it can meet the standards and open its doors at last. “The safety and welfare of our guests, our customers and our team will be of paramount importance,” it adds. “We will keep you up to date with our plans and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.”

Over at The White Swan Facebook page, it’s business as usual for its Friday and Saturday takeaway menu – but no sign of any consideration of the steps to opening for meals or drinks.

So it’s still wait and see for a return to normality for our two inns. The day will come when we can safely enjoy a socially responsible pint again.

Meanwhile, tourism is set to open its doors to visitors, and that includes the welcome return to the local economy of bed & breakfast accommodation and holiday cottages. Of course, the success of these businesses, and the attraction of the area, depends on there being local inns and restaurants to provide lunches and evening meals. It is difficult to know when to accept bookings, when you can’t guarantee the chance of an evening meal to your guests.

So for these business owners, as well as residents who look forward to meeting up again, the decision to open either or both pubs will be a bonus. The news – any news – of when this is likely to be will be very welcome.

In the meantime, we must stay safe, observe the social distancing and hygiene recommendations, and respect the worries of others for their own safety. Everyone involved in tourism locally, and making plans, is likely to be remembering that it will be disastrous for the villages in our area if tourism were to bring in the virus from elsewhere. Whether pub or B&B, getting the first visitors over the doorstep will be both good news and a challenge for staff and owners. It is important that everything is done to welcome guests whilst staying safe and protecting the community.

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