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Pre-order meals and temperature checks at the door - town’s restaurants reveal changes

PUBLISHED: 11:55 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:32 03 July 2020

The Mulberry in Thetford. Owner Karen Connor.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2016

The Mulberry in Thetford. Owner Karen Connor. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

As a town’s restaurants and pubs prepare to reopen from July 4, landlords have been working hard to make sure their punters will be safe.

Gez Chetal, owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel, is set to open his restaurant from July 4 - pre-booked only. Photo: Emily ThomsonGez Chetal, owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel, is set to open his restaurant from July 4 - pre-booked only. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Thomas Paine Hotel is one business in Thetford, which is preparing its restaurant for its first customers since lockdown.

Despite feeling relieved they can get back to business, its owner, Gez Chetal, says these first few months will “just be about survival”.

The hotel is set to host its annual Indian night, on Saturday, July 4, where customers who have pre-booked and pre-ordered their meals will arrive at staggered times.

But after a meeting with an Environmental Health Officer from Breckland Council, to give guidance on safety measures, Mr Chetal says customers can expect a different kind of experience.

Copper-infused personalised face masks for Thomas Paine Hotel staff. Photo: Gez ChetalCopper-infused personalised face masks for Thomas Paine Hotel staff. Photo: Gez Chetal

Mr Chetal said: “I would normally serve 100 people at this function but on Saturday I won’t be able to do more than 30.

“With all of the rules and regulations we have to follow it will cost us more in labour to put it into place, but we have to ensure our customers are safe.

“If anyone thinks they will make any money in the next six months – forget it.”

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Upon arrival customers can expect their temperatures to be taken and contact details recorded.

Tables will be set two metres apart, hand sanitising stations placed throughout and staff will be wearing personalised copper-infused masks, made my Precious Bear, in Thetford.

But The Mulberry restaurant, in Thetford, will not be opening its doors until the following week, from July 10.

It’s owner, Karen Connor, said: I have a lot of customers I have been delivering to during lockdown who are still shielding, so we are going to keep the deliveries going for them from Tuesday to Thursday and from next Friday and Saturday we will open the restaurant.

“But we are doing reservations only because we have to control the numbers.

“We are also trying to make the most of the outside space, so we can spread tables out inside but still keep the atmosphere they come here for - as well as the food.”

The Mulberry will be asking customers to pre-order their food to minimise staff’s time at their tables.

Ms Connor added: “It’s very polar for people at the minute, some are keen to get out and others aren’t comfortable going out yet.

“But the support has been amazing from the community and we are really grateful.”


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