A CWMBRAN fish and chip shop got a visit from Wales’s First Minister on Monday to mark the indoors reopening of restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés in Wales in the latest round of lockdown easing.
Mark Drakeford stopped by for a spot of lunch at Page’s Fish & Chips, on Woodside Road, on the restaurant’s first day back since March.
The restaurant switched to a takeaway business over lockdown, but owner Jon Page said he is delighted to have customers back in store.
“We had to close our Sebastopol shop as we had a few key members of staff off shielding, so it was difficult to keep it going,” he said.
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“We also had to close the restaurant here. We started doing home deliveries. 
“That really took off and kept us afloat.
“We now have a number of delivery vehicles - named Derrick and Dawn to pay homage to my parents who ran the restaurant for a long time - and we intend to keep deliveries going as well as running our takeaway and restaurant.
“When we closed the doors way back when, we had no idea when we were going to be opening them again.”
The restaurant is operating on a reduced capacity to ensure it follows social distancing guidelines, while antibacterial handwash is available for customers and staff, and customers’ details are taken on the door in line with the track, trace and protect scheme.
“We are lucky that we’ve got a lot of space,” said Mr Page. “Usually we can accommodate about 130 people. Now we can seat around 50 people.”
Mr Page said the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was important to help keep locally-owned businesses afloat as the nation recovers from coronavirus.
“It’s a great offer. It helps customers and it helps local businesses, as hopefully it can get people through the doors,” he said. “We are just really grateful to have people coming back in.”
Mr Drakeford meanwhile, enthused over his lunchtime excursion.
“I’ve been looking forward to eating inside Page’s restaurant, and I’m glad to say the chips did not disappoint,” he said.
“Jon and his team have done an excellent job in putting safety measures in place to protect their customers and staff.
“I’ve been so impressed with all of the businesses across Wales who have shown care and resilience and adapted in these strange times. I know it has not been easy.
“The careful and cautious approach we have taken in Wales, which has been carried out by people who have put their communities front and centre, means coronavirus cases continue to fall here in Wales.
“I’m asking everyone to continue in the same spirit - carefully and cautiously.
“When you go and enjoy some of the things that are now open and that you have been missing, like eating in your favourite local restaurant, keep yourself and others safe by washing your hands regularly and keeping a two-metre distance.”