Getting the spontaneity back into our behaviour is the key to shaking off the fear of the virus.

No one ever said that an industry-wide shutdown implied that we’d be stopping work. In fact, over the last few months we have been busier than ever. We’ve been working with customers to fashion and implement their response to the challenges posed by the Corona crisis and helping others to refashion their entire operation – more news on a very major project to come on that soon. Our role has been to do our bit wherever possible to help the region’s food and drink sector.

 This week saw the introduction of the long-heralded scheme to entice diners back into cafés, bars, restaurants and pubs throughout the UK with the Dine Out to Help Out scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s project will cost the taxpayer an estimated £500 million according to the Treasury. The voucher-free scheme gives diners 50 per cent off dine-in meals (excluding alcoholic drinks and tips) up to a value of £10 per diner (adult or child). 

In a clear attempt to get people back into the habit of going out to eat, takeaway meals are excluded from the scheme, which runs from August 3 to 31 for registered businesses.

Take up across the county has been good – and for all the work that I’ve seen businesses carry out in readiness for welcoming customers back, it’s clear that the biggest job is in getting people to embrace the joys of spontaneous behaviour and closeness with family and friends that are the key elements of the hospitality business.

I’ve been out and about over the last months checking the local restaurant scene. Sitting in the sunshine, across a well-stocked table and dining out has been one of the biggest joys of the year for me.

So, hats off to all the businesses across our great county that have reopened their doors and welcomed in customers old and new this week.

We’ve put together a list of as many registered businesses in the county. It’s been drawn from official government sources – which aren’t great at yielding up the full picture. So please forgive us if we’ve missed anyone out. Let us know and we’ll keep the list up to date.

In the meantime, if you need practical help and advice on getting your premises and business back on track after Covid, just remember that we have plenty of experience and that we are here to help.

Sharing ideas and experiences can help us all. I’d love to hear how people are doing so please let us know about your experiences of the current situation – either as a business or a consumer. 

Vita

For our list of the venues taking part click here.