‘Know Before You Go’ when heading out this weekend

Residents urged to do their research as restaurants and pubs reopen

Tourism bosses in NewcastleGateshead are looking forward to welcoming people back to restaurants, bars and attractions this weekend but are asking the public to plan ahead and act responsibly.

Destination marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, alongside Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council, is urging residents to follow all guidelines and enjoy the weekend responsibly. The organisation is promoting national tourism agency VisitEngland’s ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign which encourages visitors to find out in advance which businesses will be open, how they will be operating and the guidelines they will need to follow.

Many hospitality and tourism businesses will be able to open their doors again tomorrow (Saturday 4 July) with new guidance in place to ensure safety. This guidance includes social distancing, limiting capacity in venues and cleanliness protocols.

Sarah Green, Chief Executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “It’s great news for hospitality and tourism businesses that they will be able to open their doors for the first time in months tomorrow. We’re encouraging people to do their research before they head out, look out for the ‘We’re Good To Go’ Covid-ready industry standard and enjoy everything responsibly. While many attractions, restaurants and bars will be open, others have taken the understandable decision to delay opening until they feel like they are able to operate safely. We have been working hard with local partners to ensure that this information is available on our new leisure tourism website.”

Gateshead Council Leader, Martin Gannon said: “We fully understand after weeks of lockdown people will be keen to get out this weekend and local businesses will very much welcome their support. However, people need to remember that coronavirus has not gone away and need to act sensibly. People have a responsibility to protect themselves, their family and their community. This scheme helps both the public and the hospitality businesses to act safely.”

Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “Starting on a busy Saturday is going to be incredibly difficult for the trade and we fully support any who decide not to reopen until they are more confident they can keep their staff, customers and the public safe.

“Where businesses are reopening we’ve worked closely with licensees to help them make the changes they need to welcome customers back and make Newcastle once again the vibrant place we all love.

“However, the onus is on the public to follow the measures that businesses put in place and plan how they are going to get home – Be sensible, don’t drink too much, and show respect for others so we can all enjoy the hospitality that our brilliant city is famous for.”

The tourism industry has been one of the worst affected by coronavirus. In the North East, the industry has now seen direct losses of more than £1.4bn, with a further £448m lost to the regional economy from the supply chain and spending from those employed in the sector.*

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ scheme was launched last week by VisitEngland with the support of local destination marketing organisations. The free to join industry standard and supporting mark allows businesses to demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and have the required processes in place.

Sarah added: “The impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry has been huge and we now need to pull together to support the sector and the amazing businesses that operate within it. We know that it will be our local residents who will be the first to start visiting our attractions, bars and restaurants again, and we want them to become advocates for our city and offer reassurance to other visitors. With the help and support of our residents, we will be in a strong position to begin to welcome back domestic visitors into the region safely and sustainably.”

For information on which businesses will reopen this weekend and how they will be operating please visit www.newcastlegateshead.com