THE Moonrakers landlady is encouraging customers to stick to the new Covid-19 restrictions when her pub reopens tomorrow.

Manager Paula Vernon is opening the Cricklade Road pub for the first time today after Swindon was put in Tier 2, following the lifting of the national lockdown.

The new rules mean hospitality venues such as pubs can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

“I just hope it will all go smoothly,” Paula said.

“When we reopened in July we didn’t have any problems with people sticking to the rules and I think people were just glad to come out after that big long lockdown.

“But we were just getting back to a bit of normal before, with face masks and table service, and now we’re opening up again and it’s going to be something different again for people to get used to,” Paula added.

The pub will initially open for three days and offer Sunday roasts, as well as its weekly lunchtime menu alongside smaller meals on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

“We’ll be offering a cheaper option of smaller meals,” said Paula.

“Things like burgers, pasty and chips, sausage and mash. Pub grub really, but at a reasonable price so that people, if they want to come out for a pint to socialise, they can have something to eat and they’re not spending a bomb.”

The pub will be open this weekend to bookings only, and Paula and her team will decide whether they will then open the following weekend.

“We’re going to give it a go, see how it is and then reassess on Monday because we don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable,” said Paula.

She added “It’s hard for a pub as big as ours when we have a lot of regulars who, before the pandemic, would come in for a pint. People need to understand they can’t just come in here for a pint – they’ve got to buy something to eat.”

She added: “To be honest some people might not even come out. If they know they’ve got to go somewhere and buy dinner, they’re not going to want to.

“I’m just hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that people will be able to come to the pub at Christmas and new year’s just for a pint or a drink. But you’ve got to think about people’s health as well,” she said.