A drink in the pub is finally becoming a reality again in England as outdoor venues open their doors for the first time since early January.
Pub owners said customers are “desperate” to have a drink with their friends again, reporting they have been inundated with bookings in the weeks since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his hospitality reopening schedule.
The roadmap enables pubs, restaurants and bars to reopen their outdoor areas from April 12th. Customers are welcome again from May 17th.
However, pub bosses say they remain concerned about longer-term plans.
The British Beer & Pub Association wrote on Twitter: “Great news that pubs will be able to reopen outdoors on April 12th. The first beer in the pub will be something special. We expect 40% of the pubs – 15,000 – to open. However, we remain deeply concerned about the government’s proposals on vaccination records. “
Half of Britons are expected to plan on jumping into the pub or restaurant when the rules wear off, a recent poll by investment bank Jefferies found.
The early step back to normal is mitigated by the practical aspects of living with Covid. Last summer, a member of each group had to register on immigration, but this time the venues are required to record the details of every customer who enters the premises.
This can either be done via the NHS Covid-19 App or in person by giving an employee the contact details.
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The night owls must either follow the rule of six or belong to a group of any size as long as there are no more than two households.
When people are not seated – for example, when they are shown to a table or go to the bathroom – they must wear face masks, follow disposable systems, and observe social distancing.
However, customers do not need to order a large meal with alcoholic beverages, and there is no 10 p.m. curfew.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the reopening was exciting for tax collectors and drinkers alike, but it was important to remember that only 40 percent of the premises in England – 15,000 – will be open to the outside world as of Monday would.
The BBPA estimates they will sell 15 million pints in the week of April 12th through Sunday, comparing that number to the 85 million normally sold on the Easter holiday weekend.
Those that open on April 12 are almost certain to make a loss, but are desperate to welcome back their customers and serve their local communities, it said.
The trade association, along with other industry associations, has expressed concern and frustration at the government’s treatment of pub reopening. They are concerned about proposals for vaccination cards for entry to premises, as well as changes in the policies for the functioning of pubs, including the fact that they cannot pay at the bar.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of BBPA, said: “The first beer in the beer garden will be a special moment. People across the country have been looking forward to it for months.
“We expect 40 percent of the pubs, around 15,000 in England, to reopen on April 12th. Those that do open have invested heavily in ensuring that customers are both comfortable, safe and getting the most out of the pub beer garden.
“But we should remember that this opening will be loss-making, with the ability to trade above breakeven if all restrictions are lifted. This is the only way our pubs can trade profitably and begin to fully recover.”