The owner of an award-winning – but compact – Spanish restaurant in Warwick claims relaxing the two metre distancing rule has saved his business from closure.
Alex Clayton was forced to shut Tasca Dali at the start of lockdown, resorting, like many others, to offering meal deliveries to try and keep his business alive.
But takings took a huge hit and the popular restaurateur, who also owns Flamenco in High Street, was running out of time before having to hang up the closed sign for good.
This week’s Government revision of the two metre social distancing rule from July 4 , has come as a particular relief to Alex, who can now accommodate more than double the number of
diners than planned - but he warns there is still a struggle ahead.
The reduction to one metre means full capacity will see around a third fewer customers catered for on their busy nights.
He said: “We are very excited to be reopening the restaurant on July 4.
"The lockdown has had a huge effect on us and the proposed two metre distancing rules would have killed the business.
“The one metre-plus rule will allow business to return to near normal although we shall need to make certain adjustments to the table layout.
“We are still anticipating a general downturn in business and have made changes to the business structure in preparation for a serious drop in income, especially over the winter months.
“And, although we’re busy preparing to reopen, we are also aware of the general shock to the economy. For us this is about staying in the game for the long term.”
Measures in place include tables set on arrival and disinfected between guests, no table cloths, the use of paper napkins and staff wearing masks.
The restaurant is also one of very few to use a state-of-the-art air cleaning and recirculation system.
The NASA technology uses ultra violet light to sanitise the air as well as the surfaces it lands on.
According to reports this week, scientists from universities around the world are advocating for the use of ultraviolet light indoors as a 'particularly efficient, easily deployable and economically affordable' way of combating coronavirus.
Last September, after six years in High Street, Tasca Dali was named Spanish Restaurant of the Year in the Birmingham Restaurant Awards.
The team prides itself on authentic and traditional Spanish cooking methods with most of the ingredients including cheeses, hams, chorizos, olive oils sourced from Spain, along with locally sourced meats and fish.
Alex said: “We have no menu as such at Tasca. Our food is prepared every day with whatever is market fresh on the day and in season.
"We cook in the traditional Spanish way, the same method that Spaniards have been preparing meals in their homes for generations, there are no short cuts, no microwaves.
"We do not compromise on the raw ingredients, using only the finest olive oils that we bring in ourselves from Jaen in Spain.”
Tasca Dali is now taking bookings for tables from July 4 at https://www.tascadali.com/reservations or on 07445 233 527.