Relaxed coronavirus restrictions ‘a relief’ says Worthing and Littlehampton restaurateur

A Worthing and Littlehampton restaurateur let out a sigh of relief this week as relaxed covid restrictions proposed for ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19, were announced.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 10:10 am

On Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out government plans to lift the remaining restrictions as part of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The plans, which are set to be confirmed on July 12, include nightclubs being able to reopen, no limits on the number of people indoors and outdoors, removal of the one-metre-plus rule and masks.

Hospitality businesses will also no longer be required to provide table service only, there will be no capacity caps, and no limits on numbers at weddings and funerals.

Andy Sparsis outside The Fish Factory in Littlehampton

Andy Sparsis, who owns The Fish Factory in Worthing and Littlehampton – and The Fat Greek Taverna in Worthing, said: “From a business point of view, it is a relief as it means we can get back to running at full capacity.

“We are really excited to get back to normal and to have large groups of people coming in again for birthdays and other occasions – we’ve really missed that.

“And I think the hospitality sector is over it now and it is time to put it all behind us and get on with working and looking after our customers.”

Mr Sparsis said the relaxation of rules will no doubt create more covid cases and some businesses will be forced to shut for short periods due to staff self-isolating.

Andy Sparsis outside The Fat Greek restaurant in Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

“I think it is going to be a question of how long can you stay open until your team gets covid?” he said.

“I think it will become much more common to get a phone call saying your booking has been cancelled due to places having to shut – and there’s a massive shortage of hospitality staff.”

But, he said, we need to trust the vaccine and ‘move on’: “I am going to be encouraging my staff to get double jabbed. And it’s about looking after each other – protecting staff and protecting customers.

“Staff are going to be a little apprehensive as they will be working on the frontline with no protection measures and there will be a lot of nervous people who won’t come out.

“But if there was ever a more important time to get the town vaccinated – it is now. It really is the only option we’ve got.

“If we want to go out and have fun, then the message is to get your second jab.”