A PRESTWICK pub landlord has vowed to look after his elderly regulars as part of plans to re-open his pub later this month.

Raymond Cooper, 57, would not have survived the coronavirus lockdown if it wasn’t for help from the Government.

The owner of the popular watering hole The Golf Inn, on the town’s main strip of bars and restaurants, Raymond is desperate to get back to business – after a difficult time adjusting to life without the pub.

He is now, like many other publicans in South Ayrshire, waiting anxiously for the infection rates of COVID-19 to continue to fall and get the green light given for pubs to re-open – albeit on a phased return with restrictions.

Raymond who has had the Golf Inn for six years, told the Advertiser: “We are hoping to open up our outdoor space which has 12 tables at the back, come the end of June.

“But we are only going to do that once it is safe to do so.

“We have been working closely with the council’s licensing team and they are fully committed to helping us get back open. We will have to take various measures, but we can’t wait to get started again.”

The Golf Inn could re-open on an outdoor only basis with pints being dished out and placed on separate table for customers to collect.

But despite some of the venues benching sitting six people, they will only be allowed two.

The pub is very much a family affair with daughter Abbie, 25, playing a huge part in the day to day running, and his wife of 33 years Serena also pouring the pints.

In addition, there are four members of full time staff, with their chef taking up a new role cooking meals for struggling families for a local charity.

Raymond is wary of a possible surge of punters eager to get their first taste of a pint in months but has pledged to make sure there is plenty of room for everyone.

He said: “Since we’ve been closed, we’ve had lots of messages of support from people who are missing us and we’re missing them.

“It’s been extremely difficult to work out how to go forward. There is a worry of queues when pubs return.

“But we have got to think of the local community. Health workers and key workers deserve pint too after all they’ve been through, that’s paramount.”

Raymond wants to make sure that when possible, those in the over 70s category can get back to the pub they love.

He added: “There are older gentleman who come in and sit during the day. I’ve missed the good banter from them.

“Some of my regulars you’d have the kettle on for them coming in. We’ve got to look after them.”


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