With pubs in Wales set to reopen on Monday, one Swansea local is going all out for a sociable, safe reopening with a revamped garden and stringent health & safety measures.
Licensee Hayley Lewis gave the garden at The Wern Inn on Siloh Road in Landor a £20k makeover during lockdown using money set aside for her daughter’s wedding, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Family and friends pitched in to create a stunning alfresco space with two covered areas, astro turf, a bar, big screens for watching sports and seating for 80. A myriad of lights – including a light-covered tree – bring a continental feel to the Landor local, whilst free rain ponchos are on hand in case the Welsh weather fails to cooperate.
Lewis said, “We wanted to give the garden the wow factor. It has proved a real hit. People in Swansea are desperate to go out; they’ve been coming from across the city. We’ve reached maximum capacity most days even when it has rained. As so many travel plans have been jeopardised, people are really appreciating the garden’s holiday vibe.”
Lewis said regulars and staff can’t wait for the inside of the pub to open as well. She added, “The Wern is the heart of the community, so residents were gutted when we had to close. We’ve got a loyal following of older regulars who’ve been coming to The Wern for well over 20 years. Many of them are cautious about going out and will be more comfortable inside the pub. They’re looking forward to coming back and enjoying some much needed laughter and banter.”
The pub has host of new measures in place to ensure customer safety and meet health & safety guidelines when it opens up inside. Customers will be greeted at the door, shown to a table and receive table service. There is also a one-way system with floor markings, sanitiser stations and a Perspex screen at the till. Staff will wear visors, hairnets and gloves.
Lewis added, “High safety standards are as important as great service and a good product for people when they’re choosing where to go out now. We’ve gone above and beyond what’s required to reassure our customers.”
Swansea born-and-bred Lewis took over The Wern Inn four years ago and contributed to a £220k refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars last year. To support the elderly and vulnerable and cater for those in need of a treat, the pub provided food takeaways and deliveries throughout lockdown. It also donated 50 Sunday lunches to staff at Singleton Hospital as a thank you to the NHS.
Lewis continued, “I’m usually here seven days a week. I was devastated when we had to shut and missed all the customers dreadfully. Keeping busy was the only way to cope and it’s helped keep the pub afloat, too. The Wern has served the community for 150 years, and I’m determined to keep it thriving for the long term.”
Caren Geering, Star Pubs & Bars’ operations director for Wales, added, “It has been a tough few months for Welsh pubs, and it’s fantastic be able to open the doors again. Licensees like Hayley are an inspiration; we wish her well for the future.”