Pubs, bars and other hospitality businesses were forced to close their doors in March as part of the UK’s frontline defence against the spread of the deadly coronavirus. In recent weeks as the number of new coronavirus cases has started to drop, the Government has started to ease some fo the COVID-19 restrictions. Pubs and beer gardens will be permitted to reopen on July 4, but according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson there will be strict rules in place to ensure the safety of staff, customers and their families. But what exactly will these new rules entail and how might this impact the experience at your local boozer?
What will the new rules be for pubs?
Pubs can currently serve takeaway and delivery beer, but the new rules which come into effect from July 4 will allow customers to sit and enjoy their drinks on-site.
Customers will however not be permitted to drink at the bar.
Instead, all drinks orders will be taken via table service.
The Government has asked pubs to enable this in a bid to limit the contact between staff and customers.
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Pub register and contactless payment
Pub visitors will be asked to give their name to the pub landlord at the door.
This temporary record will now be kept by pubs for 21 days so those who visit can be contracted if there is a breakout of localised coronavirus.
The Government guidance reads: “You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.
“This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.”
Contactless ordering and payment methods will be encouraged.
Venues with apps such as Wetherspoons are encouraging visitors to order using a contactless app rather than from members of staff.
One-way systems and ventilation
Inside pubs, one-way systems will be used to ensure people do not cross paths.
Single-direction traffic inside pubs and restaurants will reduce congestion and minimise contact between customers.
The Government guidance also outlines that doors should be left open, where appropriate, to reduce touchpoints.
Maintaining good ventilation is also important and therefore windows and doors should be kept open as much as possible.
In addition, pubs are urged to use a one in one out system with toilets to minimise customer interaction.
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Live performances, football matches and loud music
Live performances are not permitted, including music, drama and comedy.
Customers should also be able to keep at normal volumes as speaking at loud volumes can increase the risk of transition.
The Government guidance reads: “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 of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission.”
Those hoping to watch sports at the pub will not be able to watch matches for the time being as the activity associated with watching live sport is considered to be too risky.
Number limits and disposable condiments and cutlery
When sitting inside pubs or restaurants, people will be allowed to gather at a social distance in groups of six, with a maximum of two households involved.
This six-person limit will also apply to pub gardens, although friends from more than two households will be permitted to socialise.
A venue is not permitted to allow more than 30 people inside, even if the venue’s capacity is beyond this number.
Pubs offering food are advised to use disposable condiments and cutlery to minimise the risk of transmission from shared condiment bottles and cutlery.
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