Huge demand as Leeds pub sees 700 bookings within hours and Chow Down festival sells out dates
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he hoped that hospitality venues could reopen from April 12 for outdoor service only.
This means people will be able to meet friends or family in beer gardens or to eat dinner outside, but only as a group of six or a mixture of two households
Water Lane Boathouse, which has a large beer garden overlooking the Leeds Liverpool Canal, saw more than 700 bookings in just five hours after it announced it was taking bookings on Tuesday, March 3.
After announcing bookings at 1pm, the Granary Wharf pub team issued an update at 6pm which said: "We've had over 700 bookings through since we announced.
"Please bear with us as we work our way through them."
Meanwhile, Chow Down food festival, held in the Temple Arches, saw a "record breaking" response after it opened its bookings.
Every Friday and Saturday between April and the May Bank Holiday weekend has sold out completely.
There are only limited tickets available for all other dates.
Organisers at Chow Down said: "WOW. The response today has been crazy. Record breaking crazy.
"We can’t thank you enough for the support and we are even more excited to welcome you than we already were.
"Every Friday and Saturday has now sold out.
"With very limited availability elsewhere including the first bank holiday of 2021 on the 2nd & 3rd May. These will sell out very, very soon - so don’t snooze."
It comes as pub-chain Wetherspoon announced that it will open beer gardens, rooftop gardens and patios at 394 of its pubs in England when the lockdown continues to ease from April 12, the company has announced.
The pubs will be open from 9am to 9pm from Sunday to Thursday and 9am to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, although some will have restrictions on closing times.
They will offer a slightly reduced menu, with food available from 9am to 8pm seven days a week.
Customers will be able to order and pay through the Wetherspoon app, and staff will be able to take orders and payment at the table.
The pubs will not be operating a booking system.
Customers will be able to enter the pubs to gain access to the outside areas and use toilets, while test and trace will be in operation and hand sanitisers will be available.
There are four Wetherspoon pubs in Leeds city centre - The Cuthbert Brodrick in Portland Crescent, Becketts Bank in Park Row, The Hedley Verity in Woodhuse Lane and the Wetherspoons in Leeds Station.
The pub-chain also has branches in Bramley, Cross Gates, Morley, Pudsey, Garforth, Yeadon and Otley.
Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our customers and staff back to our pubs.”
Pubs and restaurants in England will be able to serve customers outdoors from April 12 as part of the road map out of the lockdown which has devastated the hospitality sector.
Wetherspoon has 875 pubs in the UK, including 750 in England.