Richmond bistro ready to reopen as restrictions ease

Kerry Robson.

A Richmond bistro is among the local businesses preparing to reopen following the latest easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday.

From Monday, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve indoors, entertainment and attractions can re-open, along with remaining accommodation.

Up to 30 people can also get together for weddings and other significant life events.

Kerry Marie’s Bistro has a long history as a restaurant and bar, but after taking over in 2019, Kerry Robson was determined to put her own stamp on the premises.

That was less than 12 months before lockdowns and restrictions tested her resilience to the limit – though now Kerry Marie’s Bistro is gearing up to re-open, with a hope the summer will provide the opportunity to cement the business in the heart of the community.

Lockdown restrictions left the bistro, like many others in the hospitality sector, with no option but to close, and providing a takeaway service was not a viable option.

The furlough scheme meant staff were still getting an income during lockdown and although some left to find other work after the first enforced closure, the team she re-assembled last summer has remained with her and will be back in their familiar roles when the doors open again on May 19.

Getting back to normal will take time for all businesses and she appealed to customers to be “kind and patient” as staff work within the current safety regime.

That involves guiding customers to their place with social distancing in place, providing hand sanitisers, a full table service for drinks and facilities to record their presence, either through the Government’s app or manually on a clipboard.

Kerry is taking advantage of all avenues to attract customers, including signing up to North Yorkshire’s Buy Local website.

Strong trade this summer will benefit more than just Kerry and her staff, because she sources ingredients from suppliers in the region, including meat from a butchery business “less than a stone’s throw” from the kitchen where she will prepare the produce.

Her team is eager to get back to work and has already held ‘virtual’ staff meetings, with Kerry describing them as “amazing”.

“They can’t wait to get back. All we want now is to get back to normality,” she said.

Cllr Les said: “Kerry’s business is a great examples of how the next step of the roadmap will benefit so many more businesses in the supply chain.

“As the hospitality industry springs back into life and more family events can go ahead, businesses that supply these industries can hopefully feel some optimism and relief as wholesale orders start to come back in.”

The Federation of Small Businesses for North Yorkshire represents more than 4,000 businesses in North Yorkshire and York.