It’s been a while – a year in fact – since we last wrote a blog.

With talk of reopening dates, roadmaps, a vaccine roll-out and a possible end to all this on the horizon it seems the right time to write another and bring you all up to date with where we are now.

As most of you who are reading this will know, we’ve been on an ale and ham hiatus since we closed our doors on Wednesday 4th November.

Since then we’ve been concentrating on growing the online record shop nationally, as well as delivering locally, which has been a great learning experience, and something that will help us in the long run when we do reopen fully.

The question we’ve been asked the most is whether we’d be reopening as a beer café and charcuterie in April.

The short answer is no: lack of space, restrictions in place and reliance on the weather.

The long answer, and perhaps the reason for writing this, is for other venues who find themselves in the same situation as us.

If we did open in April, we’d actually be opening under tighter restrictions than July-November.

The national legislation for reopening outside remains the same as it was pre-lockdown, though with the rule of six or two households applied.

Customers would only be allowed into the premises –  with a face covering – to use the toilet. Other than that, track and trace would still need to be used and it would be table service only.

The new Bradford Council Highways rules include no glassware outside, no standing and no smoking unless you can provide a dedicated smoking table ‘a minimum of 2m apart wherever possible’.

Being based where we are, our outside area is limited to only two or three tables.

We were offered a wooden area in the parking bays in front of the premises by the Council, but felt its permanent nature would result in our small team having to police the public realm, which isn’t something we’d be comfortable with, and we’d only gain an extra couple of tables from it.

Most importantly, throw in the unpredictability of the weather, with our location being particularly windy and the staffing all this would require and means it just wouldn’t be financially feasible for us to open outside only.

The April reopening is really suited to venues with large private outside areas and enough staff to manage with the restrictions.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on how things progress as the country hopefully continues to reopen over the next few weeks and months, wary that we’ve closed down twice before and don’t want to do it a third time!

We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had from our wonderful customers over the last year and for the Government grants – facilitated by the council – and furlough scheme which has enabled the team Record Café to still be here.

So, keep an eye on our various social media outlets for any further updates.

In the meantime, as we said at the start, check out the online record shop – it’s ace – and above all, follow the rules.

That’s what will really help get us back open sooner.