More than 80 businesses in Caerphilly County Borough have signed up to the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme as coronavirus restrictions are gradually eased.
The scheme gives customers 50% off on food and non-alcoholic drinks at a number of restaurants, cafes, pubs, fast food outlets and more.
The scheme, which was launched by the UK Government, started on Monday, August 3 and runs until August 31.
The discount is available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a maximum discount of £10.
In the first week, the scheme was used 10.5 million times across the UK, the Treasury has said.
Angela Crabtree runs the Old Library Cafe in Morgan Jones Park, Caerphilly town, which is part of the scheme.
Ms Crabtree said: “The first week went really well with no issues. On the first day, people were shocked but pleased with the prices.
“People say they’re glad to be back. It’s been fantastic so far.”
While Ms Crabtree admitted the number of customers is down on last summer, she said the cafe is still busy.
“Social distancing hasn’t reduced our numbers too much. We’ve got a big space and the tables are quite spaced out anyway.
“We’ve pushed the tables towards the walls. We’ve lost seating but not tables. Our seating has reduced by about 20% roughly.”
Ian Rosser, owner of the Bank Post Office and Coffee Shop on High Street, Newbridge, said the business is “busier than this time last year” as a result of the scheme.
Mr Rosser said: “Surprisingly, we’ve had lots of people in who didn’t know we were part of the scheme. It’s been very busy.
“It’s giving people the confidence to get out the door. It’s definitely working for us.”
Mr Rosser said the government support the cafe received during lockdown has meant they’ve been able to invest in adding an outdoor eating area, as well as implementing social distancing measures, with transparent screens set up around the cafe.
Mr Rosser said: “We’ve lost about ten seats indoors, but we’ve been able to develop our outdoor area. What we’ve lost indoors, we’ve gained outdoors.”
He added: “People have been very positive about the social distancing measures.
“People love the outdoor area too. Some people are still very cautious, but feel comfortable outside in the fresh air.
“It’s given customers more confidence and brought new customers in”.
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