HELENSBURGH’S pubs, cafes and restaurants are hoping for a busy time in the rest of the summer ahead of the most significant easing of lockdown limits for Scotland's hospitality industry.

Indoor hospitality premises can reopen from this Wednesday, July 15, after permission was given to reopen beer gardens and outdoor dining areas last week.

They will be allowed an exception to the two-metre distancing requirement as long as mitigating measures are in place such as clear information for customers and revised seating plan.

All hospitality venues are also required to record contact details of customers to support the government's Test and Protect contact tracing operation.

The Advertiser spoke to managers of local eating and drinking hotspots to see how they’ve been gearing up for the big day.

Robert Paterson at the Commodore Inn said: “We’ve been taking re-opening very seriously. We’re always two metres apart indoors – we’ve had to remove almost 70 covers out of the dining room to make that happen.

“We’ll have a separate entrance and exit and one-way system in place for our customers. There will be no ordering at the bar, customers will be allocated a table and orders taken there.

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“We open on Wednesday, July 15 at midday, and we’re encouraging people to book on our website.”

Robert Morley at the Terrace Coffee House said: “We’ve been open for two weeks for takeaway and we’ve now opened outside. We’ve refurbished the outside to make it a little better, we’ve got bollards to cordon areas off and expanded from two tables to six.

“Our opening times are nine until four Monday to Saturday and it’s first come, first served.

“The majority of our clientele are older so we’ve not introduced a booking system as yet. We’ll open the inside on July 15, whether the distancing rule stays at a metre or two metres.

“It’s great having our customers back. ur usual customers came back in droves, - We’ve got four of six tables out just now and they’re full.”

Cara Nikolic, who owns local favourites La Barca Tapas Bar, Padrone Pizzeria and Cattle & Creel with husband Milan, said all their premises were being deep cleaned and sanitised and all government Covid guidelines for restaurants were in place.

“We carried out a risk assessment, which we must have, and put in a raft of measures like non-contact automatic hand sanitisers, acrylic screens between booths, single use menus, altered table plans to ensure distancing,” she said.

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“There will be regular and monitored cleaning with tables and chairs sanitised after every sitting and we have a powerful steam cleaner we use to steam the premises throughout at 100 degrees everyday.

“We will also collect track and trace details from each booking, staff will be wearing masks, there will be signage throughout and contactless payments.

“All our 43 staff are returning on flexible furlough.

“People have been stopping me in the street and asking when we re-open and we’ve already have bookings done online.

“We are ready to open the doors.

“With many people choosing not to travel abroad this year I’m optimistic that Helensburgh will enjoy a busy summer.”

Pubs and restaurants in England were given the go-ahead by the UK government to open their doors from Saturday, July 4, with some customers queuing for a 6am opening.

READ MORE: Catch up with the latest news stories from throughout Helensburgh and Lomond here