Regulars ready to return as real ale taps flow again at Wolverhampton pub

"People have missed that interaction with each other, so reopening will give them that chance again."

Chindit Inn landlord John Smith has said it is a relief to be able to reopen after a tough year
Chindit Inn landlord John Smith has said it is a relief to be able to reopen after a tough year

The Chindit Inn in Wolverhampton is one of many pubs in the region to have suffered from closures and restrictions due the coronavirus pandemic.

Landlord John Smith said the pub, which has been a community hub since it opened in 1955, had only been able to open for five weeks during the pandemic.

He said: "I reopened in September and the pub was only open for five weeks, as soon as we tried to get back to normal, we had to close again due to the restrictions and lockdown.

"All our stock was out of date and had to be thrown away and there was so much waste including crisps, nuts and snacks."

Mr Smith, who has been landlord for 25 years and had recently signed a new lease, said he hadn't been able to reopen in April when restrictions were relaxed as the outdoor area of the pub was not big enough.

He said: "We only have a small outdoor area, so there would only have been a few people out there. As a real ale pub, I had to sit and think whether we could sell all the ales, as once you start serving them, they've only got a life of three or four days. I realised I'd have ended up throwing away a lot of beer, so I decided not to bother in the end."

John Smith shows off the signage that will be displayed in the pub

Mr Smith said the pub had been well supported through grants during closure, but it had had an effect on him, his staff and customers of the pub.

He said: "It's been hard for me at times because I've had the struggles of finding something to do as I've had so much time on my hands. I've also had to furlough my staff, which has helped us and I haven't had to lay off any staff, but they've had that uncertainty. For my regulars, I've spoken to a lot of them and they've missed that interaction with other people.

"I know one person who has been out of the house five times in the last years, with two of them being to get his vaccination jabs, so he's one of those missing interacting with others."

After more of a year of closure, the pub was today reopening its doors, with measures in place to ensure Covid regulations are complied with.

This includes table service for anyone sitting inside, the wearing of facemasks while standing, and a one-way system into the two areas of the pub.

For Mr Smith, after more than a year of closure, he has said he has nervous apprehension, but also relief about reopening the pub.

He said: "There's nervous apprehension as I don't know what to expect in terms of how many people will turn up.

"However, it's a relief to be able to open again and I feel more comfortable because of the vaccination programme, which is putting us all on the right path. A lot of my regulars have said they're looking forward to it, being able to go inside a pub, rather than sitting outside, and seeing old friends."

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