The Black Horse in Aylestone has been keeping customers entertained through lockdown with virtual events and quizzes, lunch with the landlord and a takeaway menu too.

Now, as pubs discover they can re-open on 4 July we caught up with the landlord, Alan, to find out how they’re preparing.

What was your reaction to confirmation that pubs can re-open on 4 July?

Bloomin fab, although a little apprehensive. As a seasoned campaigner that has been through the millennium bug and the smoking ban we weren’t too worried about re-opening. Sadly running pubs, bars & restaurants is much tougher now with much smaller margins and so many more things to compete with, just seems that Covid-19 was another thing for us to fight against.

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How long have you had plans in the works for how to deal with re-opening?

As I sit writing this it has come as a welcomed distraction from doing our risk assessment.

We have had plans in place whilst looking at what other governments have been doing, but much like the daily briefings our plans have changed almost daily.

But, we are just about ready… just.

What are some of the main changes that people will see in pubs?

At the Black Horse we will be spacing tables, extra cleaning, table service, a new app are the main things.

We are awaiting some beautiful unique covered external tables that should be with us before opening, these will be available for pre-booking. and initially we will be booking only at key times help us find our feet.

But don’t forget, its all new to us as well, work with us, help us and we will get through it.

You’ve kept busy during the lock-down period with online live streams, food takeaway service and other virtual events, do you think it’s been important for you to keep this connection with customers?

We’ve enjoyed it (well most of it anyway), we’ve (virtually) met many new people who have helped us through it and I hope we have helped them a little as well, as you know our digital footprint is important to us so it just seemed natural to do something, anything.

With the take-away, boy is it tough, but its something we will carry on as we open.

What are you most looking forward to about re-opening?

Earning a living sounds a little crass but true, but I think both of us are looking forward to routine, seeing people and making sure our fitbits get the exercise we haven’t had over the last 3 months.

Cant wait till we can sort out some of our events, comedy, cheese nights and theme nights. We’re looking forward to getting our cycle club up and running again as well.

What’s your favourite thing about running The Black Horse?

Its unique! It’s a little pub on the outskirts of Leicester and we try to do things others don’t. Pubs are no longer about selling just pints, its all about the customer experience.

What would your message be to customers who have hesitations about coming back into pubs?

Take your time, its not a race. Come back when you feel ready, but when you do come back choose where you go carefully. So many great venues offer great service and standards, look at small independents (like us) and spend your money where it makes a difference.

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