FOUR months after shutting their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, pubs will reopen today – but with a few changes.
To be able to reopen safely, the government has made a list of rules that pubs need to follow so they are safe to open.
These include making sure people are two or one metre apart (depending on the venue), encouraging customers to wash or sanitise their hands when they enter into the pub and if people have to queue, making them do it outdoors rather than indoors.
Meanwhile bar staff – as well as social distancing and continuously washing their hands – have to stagger their arrival times, change into their uniforms on site rather than at home and then leave them at work to be washed.
There are many other points that drinkers will have to follow before they pitch up at their local boozer for a pint.
1) Each pub has to take a risk assessment before opening – which means you have to stick to their rules
Like all non-essential shops and businesses, which reopened last month, pubs also have to take a test to see if they are safe to open from today.
The test, created by the Health and Safety executive, involves:
- Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
- Think about who could be at risk
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
- Act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.
Pubs then have to take into account the government guidelines and also put measures in place to prevent the virus spreading before they reopen.
So you have to follow their rules when it comes to washing your hands and socially distancing from your friends and the bar staff.
Some pubs have set up special outdoor pods to make sure that people are social distancing properly from the rest of the pub-goers.
The Anchor Inn in Nayland in Colchester, Essex, has created several domes so people can dine safely.
2) Limit the number of people you’re meeting
Punters who meet indoors can only meet in groups of up to two households or support bubbles.
Outdoor meet ups should only take place in groups of up to 2 households (or support bubbles), or a group of 6 people from any number of households.
More than 30 people are not allowed to meet in a public place under the law.
3) No live music or gigs
Live music and gigs – including drama and comedy performances – are still banned under government legislation for the time being.
The government has yet to outline plans when they will be allowed to go ahead again.
Football can be watched, but pubs can only show games where people won’t shout at each other, during to the risks of spreading the virus.
Music also has to be played low enough so people can talk to each other without shouting.
Meanwhile some pubs are enforcing extra rules to be safe, but they have been left optional by the government.
This means that you don’t have to do the points below, but your local boozer may be enforcing them, so it’s best to check the rules your pub is enforcing before heading out.
4) Book in advance
Long gone, for the time being, are the days where you could just go to the pub for a pint after work. Some pubs are now making people book in advance for a spot.
Once you arrive, just tell the doorman your name and you’ll be let in.
5) Hand over your contact details
In case there is a second outbreak of the virus in a particular area after pubs open, punters are being asked by some pubs to give their contact information so that they can be traced easily. You may be asked to do that before you arrive, when you make your booking, or when you arrive.
These details will be held for 21 days.
6) You may have to queue or follow a one way system
As well as social distancing – either one or two metres in the pub, it depends on how small the pub is – you’ll be asked to enter and exit in specific areas and also queue, where necessary.
Each pub will have their guidance clearly marked out for you to follow.
These systems will vary per pub, depending on the health and safety checks they have taken out before reopening.
7) Ordering your drinks has changed
Ordering at the bar isn’t banned but drinking at it is. Pubs are also being encouraged to ask people to order through an app instead of approaching the bar. Some pubs will be offering table service only as this has been encouraged, but not enforced, by the government.
8) Food could be served in disposable containers
If you’re buying food from pubs, it could be given to you in disposable boxes, with disposable cutlery and disposable condiments.
Cutlery and condiments will also only be given when your food is served.
This is to prevent potential transmission of the virus.
9) Face masks can be worn, but optionally
PPE has been given to bartenders and waiters so if they want to wear it, they can.
For drinkers, you don’t have to wear a face mask indoors or outside, but you are able to if you want to.
However some pubs are insisting people wear face masks at certain points, so when you leave your table, so you should take it with you anyway just to be safe.
A new interactive map has been created to show where your nearest pub is opening today.
Wetherspoon customers meanwhile will be asked to hand over track and trace details every time they go inside.
And the footie will be shown at pubs this weekend, but with some restrictions in place.