Fourth of July will see pubs and restaurants across England reopening but with a difference.
Pubs are ingrained in the British way of life. The whole act of “meeting for a drink” or “stopping for a pint before going home” is more about community cohesion than drinking. Present pubs have their roots in Italy. When Romans invaded and with like roads, bright pubs too called, tabernae over a period of time adopted by Britain as ‘taverns,’ brewing local ale. Sometimes also called ‘alehouses’. Along with drinks, pub food became a part of British people’s calendar, something they have been missing since March 23 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pubs and restaurants can open from the 4th of July with the following government guidelines in place:
> Requiring use of table service where possible instead of ordering at the bar and assigning a single staff member per table.
> Encouraging use of contactless ordering from tables where available, such as through an app.
> Discouraging non-essential trips by staff within venues, such as between the kitchen and front of the house, by using radios and other electronic devices to communicate
> Encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the venue.
> Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene as people arrive on the premises, with signage and visual aids.
Indian origin business secretary Alok Sharma said, “We know this pandemic has been particularly hard for people working in hairdressing and hospitality. Allowing pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to open will be another step in our plan to kickstart our economic recovery in a safe manner.”
While opening of pubs is a welcome event in the British culture calendar, it is not going to be the same though. Live music is an attraction that many pubs use to draw crowds, but it won’t be allowed. Also, only six people from up to two households can sit while maintaining social distancing. No more than 30 people can be allowed inside the pub regardless of its size and ‘one in and one out’ policy is to be employed for toilets.
In order for all the measures to be put in place, some pubs and restaurants have delayed their opening yet largely it’s been welcomed by the industry.
Calling the opening of pubs “fantastic”, in a joint statement sent to India Today by the British Beer & Pub Association, UK Hospitality, the London Night Czar and the National Police Chiefs’ Council on pubs reopening, they further said, “We know that people are keen to begin to get life back to normal and understand the important role the pubs can play in that.”
“We are looking forward to welcoming people back into pubs in villages, towns and cities across the country this weekend, but we also want to impress upon people the importance of behaving responsibly. We ask pub goers to be supportive of landlords and pub staff, helping them to reopen in the best way possible. It’s important everyone respects the new measures in place to ensure everyone can enjoy the return of our pubs safely,” they added.
Gary, a regular at his local pub, has missed the buzz and “can’t wait to get back” but is vary of how it is all going to work. He said, “While I desperately want to meet my mates over a pint, I feel it’s not going to be the same.”
It indeed can’t be. The sight of people standing in big groups sometimes spilling onto the road or just crowding around the counter indulging in a light banter with the bartenders at a pub is always a community experience. Even if someone goes to a pub without a friend, one is likely to make in there. Can’t say if it will be all the same but surely opening of pubs and restaurants come as a welcome break for many.
Even the British PM, Boris Johnson in his last press briefing at 10 Downing Street while announcing the easing of lockdown from July 4th had mentioned that he would like to have a meal in a restaurant, a sentiment reciprocated by many but not without the fear of a second spike.