Looking forward to the future, one businessman has been able to bring his future plans forward as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Juggling two popular hospitality venues is difficult at the best of times but throw in a global pandemic and it’s enough to make anyone’s toes curl but for James Hill, he has been able to bring ideas forward.

He has taken the time to revamp his Lounge on the Green restaurant in Houghton, creating a place that offers fine dining and a tasting menu - while also adapting to a 'new normal'. He said: “Things are going to be so different when we start back up. In the last eight or nine weeks, we have been working out how we can come back.

“I didn’t go down the route of becoming a takeaway as I didn’t feel it was fair to furlough half the staff and I didn’t want to take away from what we have.

“Changes to Lounge on the Green are easy, I had a two-year model and I have been able to bring it forward. I want it to be an experience.

“We have decided that we will have two sittings and everyone will be served at the same time in those sittings.

“It means that staff are not always passing people and the same for customers.

“We’re not having screens put up, I don’t want partitions up. The reason you go out is to be social.

“We will have PPE in place as well as hand sanitiser and keep to social distancing guidelines.

“This is part of the reason for the change in menu.

“The tasting menu means our kitchen staff will only have to work in their area and only look after one dish. Previously different people handled different parts of the meal.”

Mr Hill's other business, the Quarter Lounge in Treasury Court, Carlisle city centre, will also be seeing some changes, the bar will be seating only and he plans to take out five or six tables.

The owner continued: “This time has given me a chance to re-evaluate my businesses and see what changes I can make for the better.

“The Quarter Lounge took up a lot of my time and I have decided we need a better work-life balance and do we need to be open seven days a week. When we reopen it will be closed every Monday and Tuesday.”

The pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to re-evaluate and Mr Hill added: “I have been very lucky. Both of my landlords have been amazing and reduced the rents and when we reopen the Quarter Lounge I will be able to use more of the outside area to help with social distancing.

“We will also have a meet and greet system and the chance to reserve a table. We will have PPE but I don’t want people to feel like they’re in a goldfish bowl and I’m hoping that when the hospitality sector starts to open we will be able to bring back the social side of life.”