THE Salty Dog is one of Northwich’s most-loved pubs thanks to its friendly atmosphere, live music and beer selection.

But the popular town centre venue will not be reopening tomorrow, Saturday, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

In what is undoubtedly a tough period for businesses and the hospitality sector in general, owner Chris Mundie will be putting customers before cash by keeping his doors closed.

And while plans are being prepared to open in the near future, the safety of everyone who walks through the door when that time does come is the key priority.

“The main thing is the unknown factor, as we don’t know what it’s going to look like over the next couple of weeks,” he told the Guardian.

“We didn’t want to be in a position where we’re taking chances, and we’d rather give it a couple of weeks and let things settle down and see how it looks.

“We can then make the adjustments that we need to make, sensibly and with a measured head.

“We need to determine whether we have the things in place to open safely and if it’s a viable thing to do.

“It would mean bringing people back off furlough and turning electricity back on, so all expenses from day one are back up to 100 per cent, whereas we might not have enough customers in to generate the income to cover that.

“Also, we don’t really want to put the staff at jeopardy. At the minute, everyone is furloughed and in a relatively secure situation, but if we bring everyone back and things are not how they should be, people’s jobs will be at risk.”

Since closing at the end of March, Chris has been able to make a couple of changes to the pub to freshen things up, including the creation of a ‘tika garden’ which will aid with social distancing when it does reopen.

Northwich Guardian:

The Salty Dog owner Chris Mundie

“We’ve tried to use the time productively by painting inside and giving things a tidy-up,” Chris continued.

“We’ve been open for three years so the place was due a bit of a spruce up.

“Mike Ryland has done all the painting in the tika garden. He’s been furloughed and would rather be doing something productive than sat at home, so he volunteered his time to come down and do it.

Northwich Guardian:

The artwork in the new tika garden by Mike Ryland

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people back and have applied for al fresco licence as well to put a couple of tables and chairs at the front.

“We’re doing everything we can to be able to open in a reasonable fashion and we want to reopen as soon as possible.

“It has to be right though, and we don’t want to take any chances with it.”