05:00PM, Thursday 15 April 2021
Customers flooded out to the local eateries and drinking holes on Monday to celebrate being able to visit - out of doors - for the first time in months.
The Windsor Castle pub on Kings Road saw a roaring trade with around 300 people over the course of the day, 50 or so people in two-hour slots.
“We were extraordinarily busy all day, people were happy to be out,” said Tony Dawson, pub manager.
“We had a lot of bookings and some regular people coming in as well, wanting to pay their respects to the Duke.
“It went quite well, though the weather plays a big part of it in the evenings. We’ve can’t offer blankets anymore because of COVID but we have heaters and a tent that covers 40 people.”
The Windsor Castle has also been able to make use of its conservatory space, opening it out and expanding into its large carpark with more benches. It can seat around 75 people in total.
Even further afield in Burnham Beeches, local pubs saw a big influx of thirsty punters.
The Blackwood Arms, a country pub, found itself at full capacity on Monday and throughout the early week, seating around 30 people under cover and a further 100 in its pub garden.
“It was a so good to get the team back together,” said Sean Arnett, who owns and runs the pub with wife Vanessa.
“Because of where we are, we haven’t been offering any takeaway services – we’ve only got about nine neighbours.”
While closed, the pub undertook a raft of refurbishments and its pub garden now resembles ‘an outdoor living room’ with flooring and furniture.
Customers were keen to get back out, despite the questionable weather in the morning.
“When I got up on Monday and saw the snow, I laughed – it’s like Mother Nature’s crowd control,” he said.
However not all venues that opened on Monday are riding high. Some in Slough have found that they are simply not bringing in anything like their pre-COVID custom.
La Bettola Italian restaurant on Bath Road is one of those that has struggled, with quiet evenings and even quieter lunch trade.
“It was very quiet on Monday with not many people coming in, I was expecting more,” said Tony Mataj, manager.
“We used to get a lot of people coming in from offices coming in for lunch.
“I think people are going to Windsor, where they can do their shopping. There’s nothing to do here,” he said.
“I have tried everything, setting up the barbecue outside and putting up umbrellas and heaters. I don’t know what to do – I’m just going to have to wait and see.”
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.