SOUTHAMPTON residents can look forward to the reopening of pubs and bars across the city this weekend.

Watering holes across the nation were forced to close on Friday, March 20 but with lockdown restrictions easing many will throw open their doors on Saturday.

The Daily Echo has spoken several pubs and bars across Southampton to see what their plans are.

General manager of craft ale bar Overdraft, Oscar King said he hopes that reopening this weekend will give people a taste of what they have been missing.

Oscar says he is expecting it to be busy and has taken on extra staff at the bar in Shirley Road.

With safety in mind, floor space has been marked out with black and yellow tape so people can socially distance.

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Visitors to the bar with a “community ethos” will be able to sit at tables outside in family or household groups.

In the city centre, The Platform Tavern will also be welcoming thirsty punters.

According to owner Stewart Cross he has had more bookings than usual.

He says people have been starved of pubs for months so expects to be busy at the Tavern.

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With “new rules” in place he is “getting everything sorted” and there will be a no drinking while standing policy.

However, there will be a table service on offer.

One pub which won’t open this weekend is The Titanic in Simnel Street.

Owner Martin Geer has said it will instead reopen on Friday, July 17.

He added: “It would be wise to wait to get used to it [pubs reopening]. It will be better for everybody and regulars can come back, instead of people who haven’t had a drink for a few months trying to fight for a way in.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson urged people not to “overdo it” this weekend.

This warning has been echoed by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “We would encourage everyone to enjoy themselves safely and sensibly. Our staff, and those across the NHS, have worked incredibly hard in response to coronavirus. We hope that people stick to social distancing guidelines by regularly washing their hands and not putting themselves in danger or at risk through their own behaviour. Covid-19 is still a very real, dangerous risk to a lot of people and we have seen how quickly new local epidemics can be triggered.”

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Commenting on pubs reopening Cllr Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, said:"Many people will welcome being able to go out and visit our local pubs and restaurants and it’s important to support our local economy but we must act safely once they reopen this weekend. The coronavirus is still circulating, so we all have a role to ensure that we don’t contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"We’ve all have taken great efforts to keep our infection rates low in Southampton by following the Government guidelines closely and we can keep it low by complying with safety advice from our local pubs, restaurants and shops.

"We’re working hard to ensure that we can support the easing of lockdown safely through our Southampton COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan. This plan will build on local expertise and effective health protection processes that are already in place. It outlines how the council and partners will positively engage with residents so they're fully aware and supportive of the crucial part we can play to reduce our infection rate in Southampton and nationwide."