Worthing and Adur's pubs and restaurants to reopen but face 'a long hard road'

Worthing's pubs and restaurants have finally been given the green light to reopen as the UK continues its emergence from lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this afternoon (June 23) that pubs, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to reopen from July 4, with safety guidelines in place.

The head of Worthing's Hospitality Federation, Andy Sparsis, welcomed the news.

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"The hospitality industry works closely with the general public and the hardest part of the closure of our industry was being isolated from all our customers," said Andy, who owns restaurants including The Fat Greek and Fish Factory.

Montague Street, Worthing

"We are excited about meeting them again and making fantastic dining and social experiences for our customers. We have a long hard road ahead and our industry will fight hard to deliver the type of eating and drinking our customers have been missing for so many months.”

One of the main challenges since the high street started to reopen has been ensuring the public feel safe returning to the town centre.

Six food and drink outlets have already been given permission to sell alcohol as takeaways or in outside areas such as beer gardens. Another ten are working with Adur and Worthing councils to seek permission for alfresco eating and drinking.

The councils have received Government grants of £56,000 and £98,000 for Adur and Worthing respectively, to pay for measures to reopen the high street safely.

Temporary road closures have also been introduced in Portland Road, Montague Place and Montague Street West in Worthing and East Street north and St Mary's Road east in Shoreham.

These measures, for a maximum of 18 months, are to ensure social distancing is still possible in tight spaces for pedestrians and cyclists although allowances will be made for delivery vehicles.

Worthing Borough Council's cabinet member for regeneration, Kevin Jenkins, said: "We are working hard with West Sussex County Council, the TCI and traders to help make visitors to the town centre feel comfortable coming back and thus happy to enjoy some time sampling the excellent retail and food and drink outlets we have to offer.

"This is about helping businesses get back on their feet while continuing to make everyone feel safe.”

In the meantime discussions are underway with organisers and traders about the timing of the opening of open-air markets with the farmers' market at Shoreham on July 11 likely to be the first up and running.