Original article from Kent Live
Single digit temperatures and snow showers didn’t put people off returning to the pubs this morning (April 12).
After being closed for four months, hospitality venues across the country have finally been able to reopen their outdoor seating areas.
KentLive went down to the Royal Victoria Pavilion just hours after it reopened.
And there were many already there braving the weather to break their boozer dry spell.
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Pubs and restaurants have joined gyms, hairdressers and ‘non essential’ shops in being allowed to open for the first time in 2021.
After being forced to close at the beginning of December many were just relieved to be back socialising properly.
The Ramsgate Wetherspoon is the biggest in the UK and has a glorious terrace overlooking the main beach and harbour.
Graham Tongate, who lives in the town, was properly catching up with his school friend for the first time in months.
He told KentLive: “It’s really great being back out, it’s nice to have a beer and it’s really nice to be able to socialise with people you haven’t really been able to talk to for ages.
"It would have been better if the sun was shining but we can’t have everything.”
The friends were making up for lost time having already had one coffee, breakfast and a couple of pints.
Graham added: "It’s good to see it busy – for a town that relies on tourism and the leisure industry it is important places like this open up so it’s nice when we were walking down seeing the shops open up.
“We were interviewed at the front, told what we can and can’t do even though we knew that. We had to fill in a form and estimate the time of leaving etc. It’s done properly.”
Further along the terrace, Victor West, Paul Moody and Leo Gair were also raising a glass to the pubs returning.
Paul and Leo are members of CAMRA but were enjoying a well earned Guinness as the April sun beamed down on the Thanet coast.
Victor said “It’s good to be back, it’s nice to be out. We’d be at our local in Birchington but they’re closed so we came here.
“I’ve come here a few times – it’s brilliant here. There’s not a lot of places open and it’s a new thing to get out so we wanted to come out.”
Nothing stops the British
It wasn’t just beer being consumed though, the wide variety of options at Spoons means there is something for everyone.
From kids on their Easter holidays to friends catching up for a coffee, there was a real buzz around the 'super Spoons'.
Clare Jackson told KentLive: "It’s been a bit of a strain and I am very pleased to be out.
"We almost cancelled because it was snowing earlier and it was fluttering. Now it’s beautiful and I am tanning.
“We come here a lot. It’s beautiful sitting up here, it’s like being on a cruise line.
"I’m not surprised how busy it is – people just want to get back to normal. We’re British aren’t we and nothing stops us.
The inside of pubs and restaurants will be able to open up on May 17 when lockdown eases further.
It is hoped that if coronavirus infection rates continue to fall at the same rate then all restrictions could be lifted by June 21.