We’ve now been in an official, countrywide lockdown for 14 weeks. For months, pubs have faced uncertainty around their rent, what social distancing would look like for pubs, and when they would be able to reopen their doors.
Finally, it looks like there might be a glimmer of hope. On the 4th of July, pubs will be able to reopen, as long as they follow the new government guidelines.
So, how are pubs feeling about it? We asked some of our readers, and got an overwhelmingly positive response.
Guy Manning of the Red Lion and Troutbeck in Wiltshire says they are all geared up to open and ‘are already fully booked for lunch, dinner and in our rooms’. They will also be continuing some of the services they started up during the pub closure, including ready meals and a Sunday bakery.
Tracy, from the Swan at Milton in Derbyshire says ‘We have been inundated with messages to see when our lovely beers are available! We have taken all the necessary steps to make sure our staff and customers are safe to enjoy their visits, we are fortunate to have a large beer garden and in and out doors in both rooms, we will have hand sanitiser stations and toilet monitors, table service to stop people having to come to the bar, and being in a little lovely village we have frontage to enjoy the sun!’
Jamie and Kim of The Cotton Arms in in Cheshire say they are taking staff off furlough this week to start an extensive deep clean of the pub before they reopen. ‘We have a one way system and have changed our layout to comply with distancing rules. It’s a shame that pub goers will have rules now rather than free will but it’s a small price to pay for getting back open! We have many reservations already for food and for our campsite and the locals are really excited to get a pint!’
Emma Harrison and her team at The Three Hills in Cambridgeshire have also been spending their time getting ready, and are looking forward to a summer of good weather. ‘The new outside space is the perfect spot to enjoy some al fresco dining, whilst protected from the weather.’
Andrew Russell of The Cat Inn in West Hoathly has a long list of things they have been doing to get ready, including creating individual booths of tables (which means losing 40% of them), creating santising stations at spots around the pub, supplying face masks and shields for staffs, and creating staff bubbles to protect them as much as possible. They’ll also still be offering the take-away service they built up over the past 12 weeks.
It’s not all good news, however. Ann-Marie of The Market Tavern in Gosport says ‘We are unable to open as we are still shielding with our ages and underlying health conditions. I have a health condition and was 65 in May husband was 70 in May. Our lease runs out in Feb 21 so this last year was crucial to us, but of course as we are still shielding it would not be wise to open as we live above the pub.’
Although lockdown feels like it’s slowly starting to ease, there are still a great many people out there who are going to be cautious about or unable to reopen or visit their local pub.
The virus is still a threat to all of us, and a second wave could prove disastrous for pubs. We are thrilled that many pubs are reopening, and hope pub goers are able to enjoy pubs in their new form, but we urge them to act responsibly when they visit their local.
Follow government guidelines around social distancing, respect pub rules around hand washing and sanitising, and remember that everyone’s individual behaviour makes a huge difference right now.
How have you been feeling about it? Are you going to be first in the socially distanced queue for a pint (or first to make eye contact to get table service)? We would love to know your thoughts. Get in touch on Twitter or via our Facebook page.