There is a lot of excitement centred upon Saturday 4th July – ‘Independence Day’ – which sees the eagerly anticipated reopening of pubs and bars in Lytham St Anne’s. Indeed, bars and pubs are expecting a Super Saturday, although some licensees are questioning the wisdom of throwing their doors open on a Summer Saturday, rather than a staggered weekday reopening.
However, for customers ‘going to the pub’ will be a very different experience under the ‘new normal’ regulations.
From 4th July, customers in pubs, bars and restaurants will be obliged to supply their contact details on entry, which must be kept for 21 days by the licensee, so customers can be traced and tracked down if someone else in the venue is later diagnosed with coronavirus. Brewer Greene King say their venues will be introducing a ‘pub host’, who will manage the queues, greet and take customers details from one metre away, and show them to their tables.
Once inside, ordering a drink will also be different. Both Wetherspoons and Greene King have said customers will be encouraged to use phone apps to order and pay for drinks to avoid people congregating at the bar. Both chains have also said their bars will be fitted with perspex screens, hand sanitisers, and floor stickers indicating a one-way system for moving around the pub. Some pubs, notably those with beer gardens, have also said that they will be using plastic glasses.
And after having a few drinks you will probably want to use the toilet. Greene King have said customers will be asked to flip with their elbow ‘one in, one out’ red and green indicators at the entrance to toilets as they enter and leave. They added that for the safety of customers, cleaners will be refreshing the facilities every fifteen minutes whilst a dedicated ‘pub safe monitor’ will be cleaning surfaces and tables
When enjoying your drink, you will notice that the volume on music and sports screens is low. The new guidance says ‘All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.’ This is because as people start shouting or speaking up they are more likely to launch the virus into the air and spread it to other customers – so-called aerosol transmission.
Just in case the pub gets too crowded, police will retain the powers to break up ‘large and irresponsible’ gatherings in England following the latest easing of the lockdown regulations, An official spokesman for the Prime Minister today said ‘What the police will be able to do is break up large and irresponsible gatherings of over 30 people,. While many of the new rules and regulations will now become guidance, some powers will remain. If businesses fail to follow health and safety regulations, local authorities would have powers to temporarily close them or impose unlimited fines, while there is also the possibility of jail sentences.’
Meanwhile, don’t forget that you can only go to the pub with one other household! Cheers!