LUXURY outdoor terraces and dozens of tables on car parks have been set up as revellers prepare to return to pubs for their first pint in months.

All non-essential shops will be able to reopen to the public from Monday while pubs and restaurants will be able to serve food and drink to customers outdoors.

At the Roslin Beach Hotel, in Thorpe Bay, it is all hands on deck in preparation with a new outdoor terrace ready, while the Shoebury Hotel has a new terrace and space for 70 punters on its car park.

But the move has left the pub industry divided with both Southend’s Last Post and the Dickens Pub in Southend forced to stay closed due to a lack of space.

Roslin managing director, Jacqui Dallimore, said: “Our garden terrace can seat up to 85 people and bookings have been really busy.

“We’re full for most of next week and we’re also launching our harbour terrace with seating for 62 people and it will offer an a la carte menu and it’s been just as busy.

“We’re spending lots of money and it’s been quite a lot of hard work to get in a place to re-open.


“I’ve had a team of 14 working on the preparations but now we’re brought everyone back in to ensure we’re ready.”


Preparations - the garden terrace at The Roslin Beach Hotel

Mick Clark, 40, manager of the Dickens Pub, in Luker Road, admitted he had no choice due to a lack of space for outdoor dining.

He said: “We are not opening as we do not have enough outside space and will just have to wait until we can open inside.

“It’s disappointing and we made the tough decision when the Government made the announcement.

“I believe all pubs should have been allowed to re-open at the same time - and it’s not going to be good if it’s bad weather with people sat outside.

“The pandemic has hit everyone in the industry hard.”

While bosses at the Last Post in Weston Road, are in a similar situation.

A spokesman said: “We have a small garden and only space for about 12 people so for us it’s not worth it.

“We are preparing to open fully in May and these are the Government rules so we just have to wait until we can open properly.”

Greene King has announced it will be reopening 442 of its pubs on April 12 – roughly a third of its sites while Wetherspoon is set to reopen seven, including the Elms in Leigh.

Joan Tiney, 70, owner of the Borough Hotel on Southend seafront, is hoping for hot weather.

She said: “We were a bit unsure at first about re-opening but we will be ready to welcome back our customers and regulars.

“It’s all so dependant on the weather but we should have seating outside for about 60 people at the front and back of our business.”

Mike Marrs, co-owner of the Shoebury Hotel, has more than 80 per cent of seats booked. He said: “The council have given us all of the parking spaces out the front of the hotel, and we’ve got a new outdoor dining terrace which has space for 70 people.”