CUSTOMERS can enjoy tasty treats while sitting in dining pods at a cafe in Bicester when it reopens on July 4.

Alyson Clifton, who has run Bicester Bean Coffee Shop and Cafe for almost two years, is excited to welcome customers for the first time in 15 weeks.

As well as delivering meals to people's homes during lockdown, she has also been busy making her cafe safe for people to dine in once again.

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Her most interesting feature will be new dining pods which will allow people to enjoy refreshments outside safely in their own space.

She said: "I’m so excited, I’ve managed to stay open the entire duration of lockdown and I have these beauties (the dining pods) along with another surprise for everyone once Boris says we can open.

"I’ve thought ahead and if it’s alfresco dining only, I’ve bought loads of alfresco seating - I'll be able to seat approximately 60 people outside. The pods are made locally too so it’s all about a small business helping another."

Oxford Mail:

Ms Clifton plans to have at least four pods outside. They have been built by building company Lambert Home Builds based in Wytham.

They seat up to four adults (or two adults and 3-4 children) and offer a cosy space while still allowing adherence to social distancing measures.

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The pods are created from sustainable timber and flexible piping to form the arch, then covered with a layer of clear but tough fire cold crack and UV resistant PVC.

Ms Clifton has made other adaptations to the cafe off London Road in the hope that people will feel comfortable visiting.

She said: "So much is being put into place. Before lockdown I only had a few tables and chairs inside a massive old gazebo I inherited, which got to a point with all the gales/storms that it was unfit for purpose.

"So I had a word with my lovely landlords, Bicester Caravan & Leisure, and they thought a conservatory would be a good idea. So that’s been completed during lockdown too."

The cafe owner has also bought a gazebo for outside and will only be using disposable menus, cutlery and condiments in sachets.

She added: "Everyone’s temperature will be taken on arrival too. An amazing local family-run small business here in Bicester that I’ve used for years, called B2B Graphics, have made me Covid-19 screens for counters and all the relevant signage for social distancing, hand sanitiser etc."

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Boris Johnson announced yesterday that a 'one metre plus' rule will be introduced.

Ms Clifton welcomes the change from two metres. She said: "It will make working life so much easier for all small businesses, cafes, restaurants and pubs and hopefully will prevent people from breaking the rule, which probably would’ve happened with the 2m rule."

With the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll on the hospitality industry, Ms Clifton is grateful for the support that she received as a small business from local residents.

She said: "So many of my regulars have been amazing through all this, including all my new regulars since lockdown. I feel very privileged to have some many lovely old and new customers."