Barney's arts centre reopens
STAFF and volunteers laid on a warm welcome for visitors when Barnard Castle’s arts centre reopened for business last week.
Although there will be no live stage performances at The Witham for the time being, the centre’s cafe and shop are now up and running after the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased.
Shelagh Avery, chairwoman of trustees, said the centre had achieved “Good to Go” accreditation from VisitBritain.
“Acquiring the industry standard mark means we’ve followed government and industry guidelines by having a risk assessment in place along with a process to maintain cleanliness and help with social distancing.”
Visitors can use both front and rear entrances to the building with staff asking them to respect others who may be moving in the opposite direction.
Markers have been put on the floor to highlight two-metre social distancing and screens have been installed at the cafe counter.
However, the biggest difference is in the layout of tables.
In the regular cafe space, there are now just a handful of tables and chairs, with others placed in the music hall and benches available outside.
“We want to keep The Witham on the high street for our community,” said Ms Avery.
“The café and shop have opened first, then during September some of our regular community classes will re-start – perhaps in a different room, or there’ll be more sessions with fewer people.”
To prepare for the reopening, a team of more than 15 volunteers gave the centre a serious deep clean.
“Our volunteers gave up anywhere between half a day and eight days to do their bit,” added Ms Avery.
The cafe and shop are open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10.30am to 2.30pm
For more details, go to www.thewitham.org.uk.