PUBLICANS admit they are nervous about Super Saturday as they re-open to customers following a three-month shutdown forced by Covid-19.

Pubs, bars and other social venues have been given the all clear to welcome back punters from Saturday when the lockdown restrictions are eased.

Many owners have been working hard to introduce new measures in order to help customers follow social distancing guidelines.

These include new signs, setting up mobile apps for ordering, the introduction of hand washing stations and creating more outside seating.

The Plough and Sail, in Paglesham, says customers will not be allowed to sit inside due to the small size of the village pub.

Owner Mark Oliver (pictured below) said: “We still have huge concerns which is why customers will have to sit in the garden.

Southend Standard:

“It’s stressful at the moment because it’s not just as simple as re-opening a pub. You have to make sure people will be safe and you are following all the rules.

“We’ll have a one-way system so people can go and order their drinks and food. But our advise to people is to book in advance and pick a time slot.”

Pub owners are also warning customers to expect a limited food and drinks menu.

Steve Carey, from the Jolly Friar in Basildon, says the menus have been reduced because social distancing requirements in the kitchen and behind the bar.

He has set up an app called Swifty to allow customers to order directly from their tables, though they will still be able to go up to the bar.

There will be a no standing policy inside the pub and the number of customers will be limited once all seats are taken.

Mr Carey said: “It’s going to be a soft opening. We’ve got a big beer garden but some of it is being refurbished so we’ll lose a bit of space out there.

“I’m very nervous to be honest. We’ve been shut for a long time and it’s my responsibility to make sure everyone is safe.

“It’s great news we can reopen again but it’s a case of playing it by ear because you just don’t know if we’ll be made to shut again.”

Not all pubs will re-open on Saturday. The Gun, in Pitsea, says is yet to confirm an opening date.

Landlady Lynn Mohseni said: “Because we’re independent, we have to do all of the planning ourselves.

The main thing is making sure all of our customers and staff are safeguarded and following the social distancing advice.

“If we open too soon, it will cause issues and can actually make the business unviable so we have to get it right.

"We have got a garden we can use which will help us in terms of space but it won’t be easy making sure people stick to rules and are all part of the same bubble all the time."