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Old Hunstanton café contacting council over face masks as customer levels increase this summer

A seaside café has been busier this year due to an influx of day-trippers, but social distancing has not been a problem, staff have said.

The Old Town Beach Cafe, located on Sea Lane in Old Hunstanton, has contacted West Norfolk Council today regarding the use of face masks as staff are unsure if the business is classed as a shop as well due to its facilities on offer.

With plenty of people visiting the Norfolk coast at this time of the year, it has been imperative that safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Manger of the Old Town Beach Cafe in Old Hunstanton, Lucy Jackson. Picture: Old Town Beach Cafe
Manger of the Old Town Beach Cafe in Old Hunstanton, Lucy Jackson. Picture: Old Town Beach Cafe

Only two customers are allowed in the café at one time, while there are handmade sanitiser stations available to use. Buckets and spades have also been laid out so people stay two metres apart when waiting to be served.

Staff member Abi Fitt said: "There are times that you have to enforce the rules which does not really feel good because we are a café and we want people to have a nice time. The majority of people have been good so far.

"Last summer we were quite slow to start with but we are a lot busier now. Lots of people are coming out for a day trip rather than going for the weekend. People prefer to sit in the car and go out for the day, and there are a lot of people who are still on furlough. The kids are still off so there are a lot of children around too."

Regarding face masks, she added: "We rang the council this morning as we have a little shop so we fall into two other categories as well. It is not something we want to get wrong.

"Everyone has been wearing face masks this morning and if we [staff] have to wear them as well then we will."

A council officer visited the café on Friday and a spokesman said: “The officer was happy to clarify the national guidance as the business operates as a café and a takeaway it would be best to ask customers to wear a face covering when they order and determine if the customer is taking away or staying on site. If customers plan to eat or drink inside the café then they can remove their face covering."

The café has a vegan range on offer which includes sun-dried tomato and olive scones, fruit scones and brownies.

There is also an all-day menu from 9am to 3pm with the English Breakfast being the most popular.

The business can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Full government guidance, including who is exempt from wearing a face covering, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

On this guidance, the borough council spokesman added: “We have regularly shared this message on borough council social media channels and our officers will continue to support local businesses with the guidance.”

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