“...there’s little guidance from the Government..” - Owners of Ely tearoom on how they’ll operate once lockdown is lifted

Peacocks Tearooms in Ely. Image: Peacocks Tearooms

Peacocks Tearooms in Ely. Image: Peacocks Tearooms - Credit: Peacocks Tearooms

As the coronavirus lockdown measures start to be relaxed, many family-run small businesses like Peacocks Tearooms in Ely are working out how to operate safely.

Rachel Peacock, enjoying a break in the courtyard of Peacocks Tearooms which she owns with her husba

Rachel Peacock, enjoying a break in the courtyard of Peacocks Tearooms which she owns with her husband George. Image: Peacocks Tearooms - Credit: Peacocks Tearooms

The much-loved waterside spot offers a cosy and homely location for a catch up with loved-ones to enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or sample one its collection of teas.

But owners Rachel Peacock and her husband George say they’re having to work out how to arrange the tea room so it can operate again “little guidance from the Government”.

Geroge said: “We are working out the changes we will have to make before we can open fully as a tearoom again.

“Of course the safety of our customers and staff has to come first. There are already plenty of masks and hand sanitizer, but the major issue is distancing.”

Inside Peacocks Tearooms at the Waterside in Ely. Owners Geroge and Rachel Peacock say the Governmen

Inside Peacocks Tearooms at the Waterside in Ely. Owners Geroge and Rachel Peacock say the Government is offering little guidance for small and family-run businesses looking to open when the lockdown measures are eased. Image: Peacocks Tearooms - Credit: Peacocks Tearooms


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He added: “Until now the tearoom has been a cosy place where, if they wished, customers could chat to neighbouring tables.

“Now in each of our rooms, with distancing in mind and plenty of ingenuity, we have had to look for a new arrangement with fewer tables further apart, but of course that means well be seating fewer people.

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“So far there’s little guidance from the Government on lots of issues and it’s a bit of a mystery, for example, just how food is to be delivered to the table?

“Still, no doubt we’ll find solutions and we hope to reopen as soon as it’s safe, keeping the friendly atmosphere our customers expect whilst allowing everyone to feel safe and comfortable.”

Pubs and cafes are listed as ‘Step 3’ of the Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy which it claims may be reached by July 4.

During the lockdown, the couple have been operating a takeaway and delivery service with picnics and afternoon teas.

“We can’t let anyone eat here, even in the garden,” Rachel said, admitting that their “financial position is daunting despite the government’s help”.

She said: “But as a family business, based on what was our family home, we have some advantages and we have every intention of opening the tearoom again.

“We want to carry on creating jobs for our lovely staff, and serving tea and cakes to our wonderful customers.”

The couple opened the tearoom 16 years ago and it is now an award-winning attraction in Ely. They are now arranging each of their rooms with fewer tables which are spaced apart and plenty of hand sanitizer available.

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