RESTAURANT owners in the district have backed the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out initiative.

The discount scheme has been introduced to boost the hospitality industry, as sit-in food outlets begin to reopen their doors.

Participating businesses will be allowed to slash prices by up to £10 per diner, before claiming back the remainder of the bill from the Government.

The scheme is open to pubs which serve food, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other business which provide meals, such as leisure centres, members’ clubs, and schools.

The discounts will only be applied on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and while they can be used for non-alcoholic drinks purchased for consumption within the premises, they cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco products, or takeaway meals.

The Courant spoke to three businesses in Hexham which said they would be introducing the scheme, following its launch on Monday, August 3.

Hexham’s Shire Gate Cafe, on Cattle Market, is now welcoming back diners after successfully providing takeaway Sunday lunches prior to reopening almost a fortnight ago.

The cafe’s Jennifer Ireland said: “It’s been a gradual process. The first Sunday we reopened, we still had more demand for takeaway meals, but last Sunday that had reversed.

“We offer very reasonably priced meals as it is, but this is a scheme we are looking into and hopefully it will benefit the industry.”

Another business which has reopened its doors is the Saathi Indian restaurant, on Priestpopple.

Saathi’s Titu Ahad said: “At the moment we are fairly quiet in terms of table bookings, and we’re doing more takeaways. I think last week, we saw more people are getting the confidence to come out for a meal.

“If people want to make that step, we’ll welcome them, and we’re looking into the Government’s scheme to see how we can reward customers.”

Vercelli, the Italian restaurant on Priestpopple, has made the decision not to open until July 28.

Owner Jordan Dodwell said: “We’re looking forward to getting started, and it’s good of the Government to offer this scheme, when it’s already provided grants to businesses. We will be open from Mondays to Saturdays during the scheme to offer the discounts.”