A much-loved Caribbean restaurant and bar is getting ready to re-open its doors in East Lancashire.
Turtle Bay in Blackburn was forced to close in March last year, following the announcement by the Government that the country was heading into a lockdown over fears about the coronavirus.
And while other restaurants in the chain, such as Turtle Bay in Preston, have since re-opened, Blackburn’s venue has remained closed for more than a year.
In March 2020, Turtle Bay posted this heartfelt message to their guests on their website: “Over the past ten years here at Turtle Bay, we have given our all to bringing the magic, warmth and flavour of the Caribbean to the UK.
“Our dream was simply to give you and our teams those wonderfully positive Caribbean vibes, right on your doorstep.
“And in such bleak times, that aim has never been more important as it is today.
“Our incredible Turtle Bay Family have worked tirelessly over the years to create an experience, which is nothing short of extraordinary.
“They have filled our sites daily with their huge smiles, full bellied laughs and danced their way through many a busy Friday and Saturday night here at Turtle Bay.
“To our teams, we want you to know that your hard work has not gone unnoticed and that Turtle Bay is what it is today, because of all of you.
“As you may have heard, tonight we will temporarily close our restaurants, to adhere to government advice and prioritise the health and well-being of our guests, our teams and those who are most vulnerable.
“This is an unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and no one could have foreseen this.
“We are hopeful and endlessly grateful that the government support announced today will enable us to open our doors to all our incredible team members when the time comes to reopen.
“It has been overwhelming to see such positivity and selflessness in our teams in the face of such adversity.
“We thank you, truly for all that you have done, and continue to do at Turtle Bay.
“To our loyal guests, we thank you for joining us on this whirlwind of a journey so far.
“We cannot wait to welcome you all back into our restaurants once this all blows over.
“We wish you and your families well at this time and from the bottom of our hearts we thank those working endless hours on the front lines to help us all remain healthy and happy.
“Take care of each other, stay safe and remain positive always.
“And just remember, as they say in the islands, storms don’t last forever. When we rebuild, it will be better and stronger than before.”
In February this year the Al Cristallo Italian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, formerly A Mano, in Blackburn’s One Cathedral Square office block shut its doors permanently because of the impact of coronavirus.
And Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley revealed at a meeting of the borough’s executive board that same month, that the nearby Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar also may remain closed when the pandemic is over.
It was understood that Turtle Bay was having problems renegotiating its rent to take account of the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns.
However, last week, the Caribbean chain announced that they would be making a return to Cathedral Square in August.
Although no official date has been set, it is looking likely that the restaurant will be back serving customers in Blackburn before summer is over.
A spokesperson for Turtle Bay said: “Blackburn – we’re coming back soon.
“We know it’s been a really, really long time since we shared Caribbean good times together.
“But we can finally confirm we will be reopening Turtle Bay Blackburn this August.
“Yes, we’re coming back – bottomless brunch, happy hour, late nights, deliciously addictive food – it’s all coming back.
“Bookings aren’t open just yet but clear some time in your diary in August because we have a lot of catching up to do.”