It seems as though people were out enjoying the gay scene over the weekend as one owner of a string of LGBT+ venues in Birmingham city centre spoke about the road to recovery for the sector.

The majority of the UK’s pubs and bars have been on lockdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic for over 100 days and many are desperate to open in order to stay financially viable. As lockdown restrictions eased in England last weekend, the streets were filled with eager punters looking to enjoy a bit of normality.

Lawrence Barton who owns three Birmingham venues (The Loft, The Village Inn and The Nightingale Club) and who is also the Festival Director for Birmingham Pride, spoke about how encouraged he feels after one of his venue’s takings were “in line with those of an average Saturday pre-lockdown”.

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Speaking about trading conditions, Barton told THEGAYUK

“In spite of restrictions on customer numbers, volume of music, social distancing and a strict no bar service, one of our venues had takings that were in line with those of an average Saturday pre-lockdown. Meanwhile, despite takings at The Village Inn being fifty-five per cent down on pre-lockdown levels, these were in line with our forecasts. 

“Reports in the media and elsewhere of widespread flouting of public health rules and requirements were not reflected here in Birmingham. I was enormously encouraged by the responsible behaviour demonstrated on the part of patrons in adhering to social distancing requirements and the pragmatic approach police adopted in ensuring adherence. 

“I am confident that yesterday marks the start of a long road to recovery for both the sector and our economy as a whole.”

Also commenting, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said,

“Last night was very encouraging for the region’s hospitality sector, and I want to thank the vast majority of people who followed social distancing guidelines and behaved very responsibly.

“There is no question that it is a long way back, but last night will help to give people confidence that they can safely enjoy a trip to a restaurant or pub.

“We have seen how dangerous this virus can be and, as we slowly ease lockdown measures, everyone must continue to follow the Government guidelines and keep up the basics of hand washing and social distancing.”