Pubs, restaurants, shops and even the circus - our guide as lockdown eases

Poets House

From Monday, May 17 and for venues such as Poets House, Ely, that means you can sit in the bar and watch your cocktails both shaken.....and stirred. The hotel is also advertising various roles to commence with the post lockdown re-opening. - Credit: Poets House

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind - well maybe not quite but lifting of many lockdown restrictions from Monday May 17 feels a bit like that. 

And for many that will mean instead of chancing the weather for an outdoor pint or meal, restaurants and pubs will be able to welcome you back indoors.

Further easing of Covid-19 lockdown rules is planned for Monday May 17, and the main change is that indoor hospitality will be allowed again.

And the government will announce next Monday (May 10) whether the restrictions will be relaxed as outlined on the roadmap.

And there’s plenty planned for Ely and the surrounding area.

Tight rope walkers from Continental Circus Berlin

Continental Circus Berlin aim to be in Cambridge this June. - Credit: Continental Circus Berlin on Facebook


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One of the first events to take place in Ely when Step 3 of the roadmap goes ahead is Ely's Spring Pagan and Alternative Fayre on Sunday, May 23.

The event will take place at The Maltings on Ely’s riverside and has been organised by the venue and Amber Ankh Events. There promises to be an exciting variety of stalls and readers.

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Tickets are available now for £2 but organisers have had to limit numbers because of the proposed lockdown restrictions.

Guests will also need to book a within a two-hour slot to attend. The options are: 10am-midday, 12:30pm-2:30pm and 3pm-5pm.

Slightly further afield near St Ives, The Raptor Foundation in Woodhurst was officially reopened on Saturday (May 1) by Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia.

Princess Katrina at the opening of the Raptor Centre in Woodhurst.

Princess Katrina at the opening of the Raptor Centre in Woodhurst. - Credit: HUNTS POST

It rescues, rehabilitates and returns injured birds of prey back to the wild.

While the public can now visit the wildlife facility, flying displays and specialist packages such as the Meerkat Experience will recommence from May 17.

For film fans, it is not yet known whether Cineworld in Ely will reopen at all. A post on its Facebook page in October said it would be closed until further notice and there hasn’t been an update since.

The Light Cinema in Cambridge has announced it will reopen on May 21 – the Friday after Step 3 of the roadmap is introduced. The Light Cinema in Wisbech says it will reopen on May 28.

A cinema theatre when Cineworld Ely first opened

A spokesman for Cineworld Ely has said the cinema is expected to reopen in May. - Credit: Archant

Vue Cambridge and the Arts Picturehouse are yet to reveal their plans.

Meanwhile, Cineworld Huntingdon is currently recruiting staff but is yet to release any reopening information.

In June, the circus has announced it is coming to Cambridge. Continental Circus Berlin will set up on Midsummer Common between June 9 and June 14 with two performances on weekdays and three at weekends.

The Mad Hatters Campsite at Clayway Farm in Ely is hosting its Mad Hatters Eco Festival between June 18 and 20. Tickets can be booked via its website.

Eco-festival lineup at the Mad Hatters Campsite in Ely

The line-up for the eco festival taking place this June at the Mad Hatters Campsite in Ely. - Credit: Mad Hatters Campsite

There will be live music, the building of a giant bug hotel, vegan cooking demonstrations, a children's disco, outdoor cinema and much more.

The event is also raising money for charities attending the festival, as well as the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Trust, in recognition of the work of the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Event organisers warn venue dates and showtimes are subject to coronavirus restrictions and any tier changes that may be introduced.

What is Step 3 of the roadmap?

Provided the number of coronavirus cases continues its downward trend, Step 3 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown is scheduled to take effect from May 17.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime minister Boris Johnson set out measures that are part of the four key steps that will bring the UK out of lockdown. - Credit: PA

From that date, pubs and restaurants should be able to serve customers inside, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen along with other indoor attractions, and hotels and holiday accommodation can welcome guests again.

Groups indoors, for example in pubs and restaurants, will still be restricted to six people or two households and table service will be required.

For somewhere like Sushi and Salad which opened in Ely early February for takeout, this will be their first opportunity to welcome diners into their restaurant in High Street Passage.

Juliana Correa Rodrigues from Sushi and Salad, Ely.

Juliana Correa Rodrigues from Sushi and Salad, Ely. - Credit: Supplied by Sushi and Salad

Meanwhile, up to 30 people will be able to gather outdoors.

Organised events at large venues can go ahead for up to 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is smaller.

Indoor events can open for up to 1,000 people or again at 50 per cent capacity, whichever option is lower.

Also at Step 3 of the roadmap, up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events including wakes.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said yesterday (May 3) that the legal limit of 30 mourners will now be removed as part of the next stage of lockdown easing.

Instead, the capacity will be determined by how many people venues, such as places of worship or funeral homes, can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing.

This includes both indoor and outdoor venues and all organisers must continue to be Covid-secure and follow social distancing rules.

While venue capacities will vary, many will allow "significantly" more than 30 people to attend, the MHCLG said.

There are four steps to the national roadmap and these are designed to apply to all regions of England at the same time.

If the easing of restrictions is successful at this stage, the rules can be relaxed further over in June.

When can pubs open indoors?

Indoor areas of hospitality venues such as pubs, cafés and restaurants will reopen from Step 3.

Drinkers will be allowed back indoors in pubs.

Drinkers will be allowed back indoors in pubs. - Credit: PA

Hospitality businesses across the country will be able to open up indoors from Step 3, May 17 at the earliest, albeit with some restrictions still in place.

After eating and drinking al fresco since Step 2 of lockdown easing on April 12, there will be no need to check the weather forecast every time you head to the pub or restaurant from May 17.

Pubs can welcome back customers for a pint inside, rather than outdoor service only, while indoor dining will also resume across the hospitality sector.

As outdoors, table service will be still be required. So check in advance, and don't forget to pre-book your table.

As in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a curfew.

However, customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated.

What indoor attractions can open at Step 3?

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will be allowed to reopen from Step 3, no earlier than May 17.

According to Cabinet Office guidance on www.gov.uk, this will include:

  • Theatres (including outdoor theatres) - Cambridge Arts Theatre will reopen in June and its live performances will begin again with Oleanna by David Mamet. Tickets are available for June 8-12. The Cambridge Corn Exchange has one show listed for June, but it has not yet formally announced its reopening plans.
  • Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
  • Bingo halls
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys
  • Snooker and pool halls.
Oliver Cromwell House - James Billings

Oliver Cromwell's House in Ely (pictured) is among the area's museums and galleries that aim to reopen on May 17. - Credit: Facebook/Oliver Cromwell's House / James Billings

Indoor as well as outdoor attractions will also reopen at the following:

  • Museums and galleries - For example, Oliver Cromwell's House in Ely is among the attractions set to open from 10am on May 17.
  • Adventure playgrounds and activities
  • Skating rinks
  • Games and recreation venues, including laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing and recreational driving facilities
  • Play areas, including soft play centres and inflatable parks
  • Model villages
  • Trampolining parks
  • Water and aqua parks
  • Theme parks and film studios
  • Zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions
  • Botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes
  • Sculpture parks
  • Landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms
  • Stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites.

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