PUBS in Wrexham and Flintshire are gearing up to welcome people into their beer gardens and car parks from Monday, July 13.

On Friday, pub managers and owners heard the news they had been waiting for that they will be allowed to reopen - albeit only outside initially.

At the heart of many of our towns and villages, many pubs have been reaching out the community and offering food delivery services during lockdown, but many will be relishing the opportunity to return to their local to enjoy their favourite tipple and a socially-distanced chat with friends.

Even rain won't put much of a dampener on proceedings on July 13, as many pubs have been preparing for when they can reopen and will erect gazebos and marquees.

Steve Saxon, general manager of the Red Lion in Penyffordd, said: "We will certainly be opening, that's for sure!

"We are pretty much geared up for opening, it's just a case of waiting for more guidelines to come out.

"It's not going to be easy, it's going to be difficult. I don't know why, but everything with the Welsh Government seems to happen on Monday, maybe its to ease us into it and avoid the weekend rush.

"Logistically, for us, it's how much staff do I need on, how much booze to I need to have on site, there's a million and one things we have just short of two weeks to sort out. But 100 per cent we will be open on that Monday.

"We are quite fortunate here, we have quite a large car park space and quite large gardens. The footprint of this site is pretty big. The only thing that would let us down is the weather, but we have things to cope with that, like getting gazebos in."

The Red Lion has acted as a hub for the community during the weeks since lockdown began, and Steve is hopeful that many people who hadn't been to the pub will now want to visit their local.

"We have been very fortunate here, the Penyffordd community is like no other. They've kept us going with the home delivery service and the charity events that have boosted the moral of the village. So hopefully those people who we'd never seen before and had never come into the pub before will come and start supporting us."

He added: "From the operation side, we are fully prepared and fully set up, we have plan A, B and C in place depending on what the government come out with. It's just literally down to weather and its down to weather the general public are comfortable coming to a pub and sitting outside and then coming to a pub and sitting inside. There are lots of ifs and buts."

In Rhos, manager of the Black Lion, Christine Jones, did not waste time during lockdown as she completed a refurbishment of the popular village pub.

Speaking with paintbrush in hand, Christine said that everything would be ready for the pub to open for business in its beer garden and car park on July 13.

She added the pub and its staff would be adhering to all guidelines from the Welsh Government.

Christine said: "We are a village pub so I'm not expecting it to be rammed or anything like that but it will be great to welcome people back."

"We have refurbished the pub and people have been looking through the windows wanting to know what we've done."

Staff at The Fat Boar, which has pubs in Mold and Wrexham, are looking forward to welcoming people to their terraces and beer gardens.

They posted on Facebook: "We are all waking up to news of a proposed opening date for our beer garden. We can’t wait to be back and open, we will make further announcements soon about how you book a table on our terrace to eat and drink."

Customers on social media said they were looking forward to returning.

Sara Louise Thomas said: Passed the garden yesterday and seen the updates looking good! Felt weird not to pop in for a drink! Roll on the 13th." 

Robert Furmage said: "I hope it goes well for you, you've done a great job by keeping going, fantastic business, great team effort."

Ruth McCartney said: "We'll be there, when the initial madness dies down."

However, not all pubs will be reopening on July 13 as they do not have the outside space to accommodate customers.

Board member of Saith Seren in Wrexham, Marc Jones said: "The news of the partial re-opening for pubs and restaurants is a step in the right direction. But the reality for a lot of Wrexham's pubs, cafés and restaurants is that they don't have sufficient outside space to make the social distancing work for them. I know some in the town will not be re-opening on the 13th and our priority as a community-owned bar must be the safety and health of our customers and staff. 

"As a board we continue to review the situation and are looking at every option we can because we want to re-open and welcome back our customers. However we won't be compromising on safety and will be guided by the expert advice given."