BOSSES at two pubs say they were nearly drunk dry in their first week of opening after coronavirus restrictions eased.

Pubs in England were able to re-open last Monday with customers having to sit in beer gardens in groups of up to six people.

By yesterday The Entwistle Hotel in Entwistle Street, Darwen, had just a few pints in the lines and mostly bottles left after a hugely successful opening week.

Landlord Craig Rustidge said: “It’s been brilliant and crazy. I’ve never known anything like this. I’ve never witnessed anything like this past week.

“You would really think we were going into another lockdown and nobody was ever going to get another pint.”

Craig was concerned that he would not be able to open last Monday for the first time in more than six months after the outdoor furniture was delayed.

After an early delivery, the doors opened on Monday as he had hoped and since then, Craig has even had to extend the beer garden to keep punters happy.

After seven days of trade, Craig has been left with next to no beer left, showing how well the community has responded to them being back open again.

Craig added: “They have loved it! This weather has been an absolute bonus.

“Time will tell when the rain comes because I can’t see many people wanting to sit out in the rain.”

The Railway Inn in Steeley Lane, Chorley, was also nearly drunk dry.

Landlady Lindsey Hook, who has run the pub for four years and worked there for 14, said: “The response was a bit of a shock. We had virtually nothing left.

“All the customers were really understanding about it and just drank something else.

“We ran out of draught and then eventually bottles.”

Pubs can open outdoors and customers must order, eat and drink while seated at a table.

Unlike previous restrictions people don’t need to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and there is no 10pm curfew.

Customers must follow either the rule of six, or be in a group of any size with no more than two households present When not seated customers should wear face masks and observe social distancing.