IF absence makes the heart grow fonder, regulars of Hyde pub The Albion must have been positively head over heels.
For more than half a dozen people were queuing up outside an hour before it opened.
Manager Danielle Webb finally swung the doors open at 9am in Saturday, July 4 as lockdown restrictions eased.
And no-one was happier than the loyal customers who were out on Market Place a full 60 minutes early.
“There were seven people queuing up at 8am,” Danielle told The Correspondent.
“And by about 9.30am there were about 20 customers in!”Social distancing measures has been put in place before The Albion opened, with Craft Union, which has the pub, installing screens.
It also meant about 40 per cent of its capacity – a total of 52 people – was allowed in, with fewer tables and groups no larger than six people.
Names and contact numbers of everyone heading in, with bookings taken, were noted down in case they are needed for track and trace purposes.
The reduced capacity in itself provided a challenge for the licensee.“I can’t even begin to guess how much the pub has lost out on,” Danielle added after opening the doors for the first time since March 20.
“And with only 40 per cent of the capacity being allowed in, there’s no guarantee that we’ll make money either.
“It all depends on what kind of drinkers people are, how much they order and how long they stay for.”
Despite all that had gone on over the previous three months, the sigh of relief at seeing The Albion’s doors open again could almost be heard.
Customers headed outside for cigarettes and as The Correspondent heard from one man: “It’s something to do, isn’t it?”