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More than three-quarters of pubs and bars will reopen on July 4

More than three-quarters of pubs and bars will reopen on July 4 thanks to Boris Johnson’s new ‘one metre-plus’ rule, a hospitality chief has claimed.

The Prime Minister today told the Commons that customers will be allowed back into pubs as they reopen for the first time since closing just ahead of lockdown on March 20.

Some pubs already have all their tables reserved on the opening day – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – with staff taken off furlough to help cope with bookings.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said she believes between ’70 per cent and 80 per cent of the sector will be operating again’ from the reopening date, after Mr Johnson confirmed new ‘one metre-plus’ distancing plans.

Under this revised rule, Britons who cannot stay two metres apart are advised to remain ‘one metre-plus’ away from others from July 4. 

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said she believes that between ’70 per cent and 80 per cent of the sector will be operating again’ from July 4

Ms Nicholls added she welcomed the announcement, stressing that reopening sites remains ‘challenging’ because operators ‘have so little time to prepare’. 

The comments came as she was questioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) select committee, alongside Just Eat’s UK boss Andrew Kenny. 

Ms Nicholls also claimed hospitality firms and leaders were not ‘meaningfully consulted’ over Government plans to tell customers to avoid pubs and restaurants in the run up to lockdown on March 23.

She said more businesses shut down than the sector had previously predicted, as consumer demand for takeaway food and deliveries plunged in March. 

‘There was no meaningful consultation prior to the decision taken to close premises, with the announcement on March 16 that customers would be advised to not visit pubs and restaurants,’ she said.

The Prime Minister today told the Commons that customers will be allowed back into pubs as they reopen for the first time since closing just ahead of lockdown on March 20

The Prime Minister today told the Commons that customers will be allowed back into pubs as they reopen for the first time since closing just ahead of lockdown on March 20

Pictured today: Tony Bennett the owner of The Devereux pub in Temple, London

Pictured today: Tony Bennett the owner of The Devereux pub in Temple, London

‘That took the industry a little bit by surprise but we were in detailed conversations with the Government after that.’ 

It came as Mr Johnson today announced pubs in England will be allowed to reopen from July 4 but for table service only – while nightclubs will remain shut.

Owners have warned customers to only turn up if they have pre-booked a table as bosses prepare to reopen after being shut for more than three months.

Pub-goers will be asked to register before having a drink at their local under plans to limit the spread of Covid-19 as England’s hospitality industry reopens.   

It comes amid suggestions over how the pubs of the future may look, including:

  • Screens at the tills and to create seating areas to maintain social distancing;
  • Pre-booking all tables and being banned from standing at the bar to drink; 
  • One entrance with a separate exit door where possible to keep people apart;
  • Menus on tables will have to be thrown out after being used once;
  • Staff will hand over drinks holding the base of the glass to reduce contact; 
  • Employees will have to wash their hands between serving different tables.

Mr Johnson has backed calls for people to ‘do their patriotic best for Britain’ and head to the pubs, joking that he may be touring the pubs country-wide himself.

The Prime Minister urged the Cabinet today to be at the forefront of a campaign to persuade Britons that it is safe to return to pubs, reported the Financial Times. 

Wetherspoon pubs will be very different places when they reopen and the chain has said it will spend £11million getting them ready. This graphic shows how they may appear from July 4

Wetherspoon pubs will be very different places when they reopen and the chain has said it will spend £11million getting them ready. This graphic shows how they may appear from July 4

Tony Bennett, the owner of The Devereux pub in Temple, London, raises two pints outside his establishment

Tony Bennett, the owner of The Devereux pub in Temple, London, raises two pints outside his establishment

Mark and Katie Symes, at the Exeter Arms in Barrowden, Rutland, celebrate this afternoon as the Prime Minister announces that pubs can open on July 4

Mark and Katie Symes, at the Exeter Arms in Barrowden, Rutland, celebrate this afternoon as the Prime Minister announces that pubs can open on July 4

Customers queue up for a drink outside The Dynamo bar in Putney, South London, on June 19

Customers queue up for a drink outside The Dynamo bar in Putney, South London, on June 19

Social distancing measures implemented at the Ardnamurchan pub in Glasgow on June 16

Social distancing measures implemented at the Ardnamurchan pub in Glasgow on June 16

Phil Weaver (pictured) owner of The Old Smithy pub in Warwickshire shows his delight

Phil Weaver (pictured) owner of The Old Smithy pub in Warwickshire shows his delight

It has been suggested some Ministers might go to the pub for a PR stunt, with a Government official saying: ‘There’s a job to be done to encourage people to go out.’

Meanwhile car parks and hotel grounds could be converted into temporary beer gardens to help with social distancing by encouraging drinkers outside.

Pub hosts and Perspex screens: What will the ‘new normal’ look like in England’s bars?

Supermarket-style queues, ‘pub hosts’ and Perspex screens at the bar will greet customers waiting to enjoy their first pub pint since lockdown began.

Two of the most popular British pub chains, Wetherspoons and Greene King, have outlined how their outlets will look as they reopen their doors from July 4 in England, while others have not been able to make plans.

A spokesman for one independent pub, the Gloucester Old Spot in Cheltenham, said they are ‘all guns blazing’ for a reopening but need Government guidance for the sector beyond the new one-metre rule.

So what can people expect under the ‘new normal’?

– Signing in

Many publicans have said they will be operating a pre-booking system to control customer numbers, and expect supermarket-style queues at the door.

Brewer Greene King said it will be introducing a ‘pub host’, who will manage the queues, greet customers from one metre away, and show them to their tables.

– Ordering a pint

British pub giants 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.

– Eating in

Following the Government’s reduction of the two-metre social distancing restriction, pubs will be spacing tables at least one metre apart.

Along with other industry leaders, trade union group UKHospitality (UKH) put forward proposals to ministers, including that customers should be served individually-wrapped sauces and condiments rather than sharing bottles.

Some pubs have said they will be handing out one-time-use menus which customers can take away or dispose of at the venue.

– Using the toilet

Cleaners will be on hand in pub toilets, and Greene King has said its cleaners will be refreshing the facilities every 15 minutes.

It added that a ‘pub safe monitor’ will be cleaning surfaces and tables, and customers will be asked to flip ‘one in, one out’ red and green indicators at the entrance to toilets with their elbow as they enter and leave.

– ‘New normal’ for bartenders and servers

Wetherspoons staff will be undergoing temperature checks and filling in health questionnaires before each shift and could be wearing masks, gloves, and eye protection.

When they serve drinks, they will only be touching the bottom of the glass in order to avoid transmission via the surface.

– Final orders?

The Government has not yet said whether there will be a limit on the number of drinks one person can buy.

A spokesman for Wetherspoons said staff will ensure ‘customers are served responsibly’, although they hinted there would be no limit on the number of orders a customer can make.

‘Before lockdown you couldn’t order three pints for yourself at one time and that will be the case now,’ they said.

 

New laws due to be introduced to Parliament this Thursday will allow pubs to turn their ‘spaces inside out’ this summer, reported the Daily Telegraph.

One source said: ‘At the moment, you (pubs) have to specify in the plan for your licence where you are selling and serving alcohol. Beer gardens tend to be licensed already but car parks aren’t.

‘You could have little courtyards that would be normally used for storage, car parks or land that you don’t normally license. A lot of hotels will have huge gardens but won’t have an outdoor licence.’

Mr Johnson told the Commons today that restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen from July 4.

He said: ‘I can tell the House that we will also reopen restaurants and pubs. All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.

‘We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers as happens in other countries and we will work with the sector to make this manageable.’

Mr Johnson said guidance for business will be published later today.

He also said the two-metre rule will be reduced to ‘one metre-plus’ from July 4.

He told the Commons: ‘Given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus we can change the two-metre social distancing rule from July 4.’

He added: ‘Where it is possible to keep two metres apart, people should.

‘But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one metre-plus, meaning they should remain one metre apart while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘I know this rule effectively makes life impossible for large parts of our economy even without other restrictions, for example it prevents all but a fraction of our hospitality industry from operating.’ 

Before the announcement, Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘We will be taking bookings only in the early stages. 

‘So we will have names through our normal booking system. However it would seem to me a sort of strange replacement for a trace and contact scenario, but if the Government would like us to do it, then we’ll happily do it.’

‘I think it will evolve, but on day one we want to be very, very certain about what we’re doing. We want to make sure that everyone there feels reassured, that the staff feel happy with what’s going on and feel able to keep it all under control.

‘We would perhaps develop as time goes by and allow people to turn unannounced, but then that they must realise that they may not get a table because you can’t just have people stood in the bars, it will be table service only in those early weeks.

‘We are very, very foreready for the first day, so we do need to warn people that if they’ve not got a table then they shouldn’t come.’

Mr Borg-Neal revealed last Friday that many of his sites are fully booked on July 4 and they are having to take more staff off furlough to handle the bookings. 

A spokesman for the Peach Pubs chain added that it was ‘fully booked’ already for the first weekend at six of its largest pubs which are due to open on July 4. 

Ministers are expected to ask bars and restaurants to keep a record of everyone who visits, including their mobile phone numbers.

The idea has been used in New Zealand where venues hold a register of everyone they serve each day. If someone falls ill with coronavirus, the list is then used to help with contact-tracing. 

Bars and restaurants will be allowed to resume more normal trading from July 4 as the hospitality sector reopens. 

Many pubs and bars are already taking advantage of lockdown rules that allow them to sell takeaway food and drinks, and drinkers have been out in force in some areas. 

Ministers are expected to publish guidelines later today on what measures venues can take to operate safely. 

In restaurants, waiters will be told not to lay tables until diners are seated, with napkins and cutlery brought out only with food.

What will the pubs of the post-lockdown era in Britain look like? 

Here is an outline of what Wetherspoon pub customers will experience post-lockdown:

  • The pubs will use one entrance with a separate exit door where possible. Customer entry and exit will be marked out by floor stickers and/or barriers. Door security will monitor the numbers entering and leaving to prevent overcrowding;
  • All of its pubs will have screens at the tills and there will also be screens to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables by two metres;
  • Wetherspoon will provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear – but it is not mandatory for them to wear them unless the Government says so. They will also have their temperatures taken on arrival for their shifts.
  • Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the glass and when ordered by the app they will be delivered to the table on a tray and placed on the table using the base of the glass.
  • Each pub will have at least ten or more hand santiser stations and customers should use them on arrival and multiple times during their visit. One member of staff will be dedicated to sanitising surfaces;
  • The drinks menu will remain the same – but food will be pared back and items should be ordered via the official JD Wetherspoon app if possible. But tills will be open and take cash; The pubs will provide sachets (ketchup, mayonnaise, salt pepper etc), rather than their usual condiment bottles;
  • Workers must hand over all drinks holding the base of the glass and when ordered by the app they will be delivered to the table on a tray and placed on the table using the base of the glass.

Menus will have to be thrown out after being used once. Self-service buffets will be banned and waiters will be expected to wash their hands between serving different tables.

Hotel guests will be encouraged to use room service rather than dining in restaurants, with food left on trays in corridors. If guests become ill they will be asked to either go home or self-isolate in their rooms.

Mr Johnson said today that the tourism and hospitality sectors will be allowed to reopen on July 4 for the first time since March. 

But, in a sign of the risks involved, he also warned that the changes will be reversed immediately if people abuse the new rules and the epidemic begins to take off again.

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Gareth Johnson (Dartford) added: ‘Going to the pub is a great British institution and vital if we want to get our economy back on track.

‘Would the Prime Minister therefore join me in calling on people from July 4 to do their patriotic best for Britain and go to the pub?’

Mr Johnson replied: ‘Yes, I do encourage to take advantage of the freedoms that they are rightly reacquiring, but I must stress that people should act in a responsible way.

‘And I know that that is where the public are. I know that is what people want to see.’

He added: ‘Yes I want to see people out in the shops – it is a fantastic thing to see; yes I want to see people taking advantage of hospitality again, a wonderful thing; yes I want to see people enjoying friends and family again but they’ve got to do it in a responsible way and observing social distancing.’

Conservative Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn) also asked if government would work closely with local authorities so pubs and restaurants may be able to utilise outdoor space.

Mr Johnson joked he may be touring the pubs country-wide himself.

He added: ‘There’s hardly any area of the country that I don’t intend to visit in the course of the reopening of the pubs and hostelries of this country.

‘I think there’s a massive opportunity now for our pubs with all their inventiveness to think of ways of making their businesses Covid-secure, exploiting outdoor spaces, hitherto unloved, un-valued outdoor spaces that may become havens for tables and chairs… and to use their ingenuity to open up in all the ways that they can.’

Gyms, spas and casinos to remain closed as restrictions are eased 

Indoor gyms, spas and casinos are among the list of businesses that will remain closed by law after the Prime Minister announced further easing of lockdown measures.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson announced that a large number of businesses will be allowed to reopen from July 4, including pubs, hotels, libraries and outdoor leisure facilities.

Detailed sector-by-sector guidance will be published for businesses on how to reopen in a Covid-secure manner.

This may include introducing one-way systems, installing Perspex screens, spaced queuing, increased ventilation and staggering staff shift patterns.

However, many businesses will legally have to remain closed from July 4 as others reopen.

Mr Johnson told the House of Commons that ‘difficult judgements’ had been made in deciding which businesses were able to reopen.

Many elements of the beauty sector will remain shut including spas, nail bars, tattoo parlours, beauty salons and massage parlours.

Businesses which include close proximity between households such as indoor gyms, soft play areas, spas, swimming pools and nightclubs will remain closed.

Bowling alleys, water parks and casinos will also not be allowed to reopen.

Indoor sports and dance venues and skating rinks will stay closed – however, outdoor gyms will be allowed to reopen.

Addressing close proximity businesses such as nightclubs, Mr Johnson added that task forces with public health experts will help them reopen ‘as soon as possible’.

Theatres and concert halls may be allowed to reopen for recorded screenings, provided that they are Covid-secure and do not hold live performances.  

The relaxation on July 4 – Independence Day in the US – comes amid growing optimism that the virus, which has claimed more than 42,000 lives in the UK, is finally reducing to manageable proportions.

Yesterday’s death toll rose by 15 – the lowest figure since March 13, ten days before the lockdown began.

Some 2.2million vulnerable people who have been ‘shielding’ for more than three months were yesterday told they could finally leave their homes from July 6.

The focus of the attempted economic revival will be on activities that can take place outdoors.

Ministers will bring forward legislation this week to give fast-track approval for pubs and restaurants to put seating outdoors, and small shops will be encouraged to set up stalls outside their premises.

The package of measures was finalised by the Cabinet today before being announced by Mr Johnson in a statement to Parliament at lunchtime. 

But government sources said that some indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and art galleries, will also be allowed to reopen provided they take measures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. 

Mr Johnson also confirmed the end of the two-metre rule, with businesses allowed to operate a one-metre rule as long as they introduce other measures to cut the virus risk.

At a meeting of senior ministers and officials last night, Downing Street permanent secretary Simon Case, who led a review of the rule, said case numbers were now low enough to reduce the guidance to ‘one metre plus’.

But businesses will have to take precautions such as encouraging the use of masks, seating people side by side rather than face to face, and improving ventilation.

A Downing Street source warned: ‘We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.

‘But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines. 

‘We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control.’

Pub chain Greene King revealed a new 'safe socialising' layout to its 1,700 pubs ahead of July 4

Pub chain Greene King revealed a new ‘safe socialising’ layout to its 1,700 pubs ahead of July 4 

Customers will use their elbow to change the indicator on toilet doors at Greene King pubs

Customers will use their elbow to change the indicator on toilet doors at Greene King pubs

Pubs in Britain had urged the Government to relax the two-metre (6ft) social distancing rule during the crisis so they can reopen. This was reduced to one metre by Boris Johnson today

Pubs in Britain had urged the Government to relax the two-metre (6ft) social distancing rule during the crisis so they can reopen. This was reduced to one metre by Boris Johnson today

The Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston, Lancashire, has installed greenhouse-style dining pods

The Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston, Lancashire, has installed greenhouse-style dining pods

A spokesman for the Peach Pubs chain said that it was 'fully booked' already for the first weekend at six of its largest pubs which are due to open on July 4

A spokesman for the Peach Pubs chain said that it was ‘fully booked’ already for the first weekend at six of its largest pubs which are due to open on July 4

The changes will only apply in England for now.

Ministers must ‘seize the opportunity’ to force pubs to close car parks as lockdown eases to discourage drink driving, says star motoring lawyer 

The Government should ‘seize the opportunity to curb drink driving’ by forcing pubs to close off their car parks as lockdown eases, a star road traffic lawyer has urged.

Bars and pubs should be told to seal off their parking facilities and use the space to provide more outdoor seating if they are given the green light to open on 4 July, says Nick Freeman – who has been dubbed ‘Mr Loophole’ for getting a string of celebrities of driving charges.

He said the move would not only help provide extra space for social distancing and increase capacity for businesses to serve more punters, but discourage drinkers from driving to and from the pub.

‘The reopening of bars and pubs is a welcome move for both the public and the economy,’ according to the 63 year-old lawyer. ‘But inevitably there may well be those who – by default or design – get behind the wheel after having one too many. ‘

He added: ‘The closing of pub car parks is a very visible sign that drinking and driving don`t go together.

‘In fact the Government could use this opportunity to launch an anti-drink-drive campaign, citing the fact that pubs are open but car parks are closed.’

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, yesterday suggested the Government was acting in a ‘reckless’ way. 

She said it was ‘very tempting’ to ease restrictions when death rates were falling, but said fresh outbreaks in Germany and China underlined the need for caution.

But Matt Hancock said official data on the epidemic supported the case for relaxing the rules.

The number of new cases fell to 958, the lowest figure since lockdown began on March 23.

The Health Secretary told the daily No 10 briefing last night: ‘A month ago, one in 400 people had the virus; now it is one in 1,700 and we can ease the lockdown.’

Today’s package of measures has produced the biggest single relaxation of the lockdown so far.

One Whitehall source said it was ‘effectively the end of lockdown’ – although large gatherings will remain banned, theatres and nightclubs will have to stay closed, and modified social distancing rules will remain in place.

Cinemas will only be able to have customers in every other seat. Museums and galleries will have to operate one-way systems and limit numbers.

Hairdressers will be required to take steps such as wearing personal protective equipment and to cut the small talk to limit the spread of the virus.

The PM also confirmed that from July 4 the British tourist industry can reopen, giving millions the hope of a ‘staycation’ in the UK this summer.

Hotels, guesthouses, campsites, caravan parks and self-catering properties will all be permitted to reopen if they act to prevent the spread of the virus. Owners of second homes will also be allowed to visit them again.

Couple who closed new pub just ONE HOUR after opening on the day of the lockdown are gearing up for a big knees-up on July 4

A couple who were forced to close their new pub just one hour after staging a grand opening on lockdown day are gearing up for a big July 4 knees-up.

Mark and Katie Symes were thrilled when they snapped up the Exeter Arms and splashed out more than £100,000 on refurbishments.

They spent weeks getting their dream pub in pretty Barrowden, Rutland, ready and held a grand opening on March 20.

Mark and Katie Symes, pictured today at the Exeter Arms in Barrowden, Rutland

Mark and Katie Symes, pictured today at the Exeter Arms in Barrowden, Rutland

But just one hour after serving locals their first pints, Boris Johnson announced that all pubs and restaurants would close due to coronavirus.

The distraught couple feared their new venture would collapse, but they have spent the last three months working to reopen for customers while following social distancing rules.

Mr Symes, 56, said: ‘We opened our doors at 5pm and at 6pm news came through that Boris Johnson was closing pubs – it was surreal.

‘There was almost a rivalry between a few of them to be the first to get a pint out of the new pub, which was lovely.

‘The villagers had only just bought their first pints when we had to tell them the pub was closing.

‘They’d already waited months for the pub to reopen, it was pretty emotional and my wife and I were devastated.

‘We’re absolutely delighted at the word coming out that pubs will open again on July 4.

Katie and Mark Symes (right) with Rachel, the bar manager; Nigel, the head chef; and Dan, their son and pub butcher

Katie and Mark Symes (right) with Rachel, the bar manager; Nigel, the head chef; and Dan, their son and pub butcher

‘We were the last people to open before lockdown and I want to make sure I’m one of the first to come out of lockdown mode and start trading.

‘If we can enjoy the summer trade then we can hopefully make up for the losses during lockdown.’

Mr Symes and his wife, 50, bought the historic pub in January and spent thousands on a makeover.

Mr Symes said: ‘We refurbished the whole of the inside as the business was quite a tired, outdated pub in a beautiful location.

‘We spent over six figures on the inside, getting it looking absolutely fantastic.

‘We had new stone flooring, a new bar, new furniture. Everything was completely refitted.’

But their dream of owning and running their own pub threatened to turn into a nightmare when coronavirus spread to the UK.

Father-of-one Mr Symes said: ‘In the early part of March, we could see on the news things were escalating and getting worse.

The pub in Barrowden, Rutland, is pictured after the £100,000 renovation

The pub in Barrowden, Rutland, is pictured after the £100,000 renovation

‘In Ireland, they shut pubs about 10 days before the UK did.

‘I said to my wife ‘I would have thought that would have been the last country in the world to shut pubs so we’re probably going to be next.’

‘I thought, ‘Crikey. What do we do?’ We were going to have no income, just laid out all our capital, what are we going to do. It was pretty distressing.

‘Since the lockdown, we’ve explored lots of different ways we can open the pub again while keeping customers and staff safe.

The couple have been running a takeaway food service including pie night, curry night and fish and chip Friday’s as well as a Sunday roast service.

They also delivered meals to elderly residents who were self-isolating and supplied the village shop with food when they ran out.

Support from locals has meant the couple have been able to operate the pub’s takeaway service while they work to adjust to social distancing guidelines for the reopening.

The pub is seen before the renovation which cost £100,000 to complete

The pub is seen before the renovation which cost £100,000 to complete

In readiness for an expected July 4 reopening, the couple have used a £40,000 Bounce Back Loan to kit out their beer garden with new furniture and expanding the pathways.

Mr Symes added: ‘We’re blessed with a huge beautiful open garden space in the back of the pub, so when we’re allowed to open our gardens, it will be a great advantage.

‘There’s no protection from the elements so we’re building a full outdoor kitchen, an outdoor bar with a pergola off the back, patio heaters suspended from the ceilings and lovely raised flower beds to give windbreaks.

‘We have bought five big tents that can be put up in the garden, where we can put some tables and chairs inside so people can have a private dining family area.

‘A large number of people are scared to death out there and I can understand that they’re going to be worried about coming into the hospitality area.

‘Our garden is the best opportunity for us to be able to mitigate against that loss of internal turnover, if we can create outside safe dining spaces and drinking spaces.

‘A lot of the brewers recalled their stock, but before they recalled it, I was able to secure more than 40 barrels that have best by dates running through to the end of August.

‘So we took the gamble that we’d be able to trade in the garden by then. I made sure I’ve got stock already on the premises now so when we are able to open the doors.

‘No doubt there will be an initial surge from big supporters of pubs who will want to be getting a few pints.

‘We can’t wait to reopen, it’s going to be a big night for everyone.’ 

Landlady of Sheffield’s Kelham Island Tavern: ‘I’ve got a week to sort out everything – from sourcing beer to training staff for a new world of table service’

Landlords say they will be poring over the Government’s guidelines to work out exactly how they will have to adapt their pubs and still survive in the new post-lockdown world.

Louise Singleton, landlady of Sheffield’s Kelham Island Tavern, says she has got a little over a week to work out everything from sourcing her beer to training her staff for a whole new world of table service, one-way systems and spaced-out tables.

The pub, which is the only one in the UK to have been named the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Pub of the Year two years running, will reopen on July 4 now the Government has confirmed the new one-metre-plus social distancing rule, Ms Singleton said.

Louise Singleton, landlady of Sheffield's Kelham Island Tavern, says she has got a little over a week to work out everything from sourcing her beer to training her staff for a whole new world of table service, one-way systems and spaced-out tables

Louise Singleton, landlady of Sheffield’s Kelham Island Tavern, says she has got a little over a week to work out everything from sourcing her beer to training her staff for a whole new world of table service, one-way systems and spaced-out tables

Now she says she had a week of tough decisions to make, including everything from whether to install screens to how to encourage elderly customers not to sit nursing a half pint all night when customer numbers will be so limited.

Ms Singleton, who has run the award-winning pub with partner Josh Jepson since 2018, said it will be extremely tight financially and very difficult to sustain as a business if the new guidelines are still in place by Christmas.

But she said she is looking forward to seeing many regulars, some of whom have been returning to take advantage of the Kelham Island’s lockdown take-out service.

Ms Singleton said it has been difficult to plan for reopening until the government made some firm announcements and she will still need to see the detail of the new guidelines.

Ms Singleton (pictured), who has run the award-winning pub with partner Josh Jepson since 2018, said it will be extremely tight financially and very difficult to sustain as a business if the new guidelines are still in place by Christmas

Ms Singleton (pictured), who has run the award-winning pub with partner Josh Jepson since 2018, said it will be extremely tight financially and very difficult to sustain as a business if the new guidelines are still in place by Christmas

She said: ‘Up to this point we’ve refused to do anything because we don’t want to invest money in something until we actually have it in black-and-white what it is.

‘I have got a little bit set aside in order to do this – screens, PPE, etc. PPE itself is so expensive and it’s meant to be single use.’

The landlady said she felt the government had mainly listened just to the bigger chains, leaving independent pubs like hers trying to figure out how all the new measures will work in a 170-year-old building with its multiple small rooms and tight corridors.

‘People like us who are independent, we don’t seem to have a voice, we don’t seem to be being heard and it doesn’t seem like people are paying attention,’ she said.

‘Our weekly running cost to be closed are really, really high. When you add on top of it everything else when we open, it’s going to be really tough for us to survive.’

Ms Singleton said: ‘We’re not going to have the turnover this year that we had last year but, if we get to Christmas and we can’t have the turnover at Christmas, that’s when we’re really going to struggle.

‘It’s the money we need to bank to sustain going forward.’

The pub was closed completely when the lockdown began, with the nine staff placed on furlough, opening up for takeaways once it looked like the peak was over and the NHS was coping.

Ms Singleton was talking in the sunny beer garden which used to hold around 50 paying customers but would have had to be reduced to just two if the Government had maintained the two metre rule.

She now thinks that, under the one metre plus guidance, they can fit 25 in the garden.

And Mrs Singleton is not convinced table service is necessarily the right way forward in a tight pub when the bar forms natural barrier between staff and customers.

‘If they came to the bar, there’s naturally a metre gap between you and the customers. It’s naturally there… it’s called a bar.’

She said she thought staff moving from table to table rather than isolated behind a bar might be more of a hazard to customers.

‘They’re having to go a lot closer to the customers than what they would do if we could carry on as a traditional pub,’ she said.

But Ms Singleton said: ‘People are missing each other and, when we do get people in that we haven’t seen in a while, it’s so lovely to see them.

‘But we find it very difficult because we’ve obviously got a customer waiting outside so we feel we can’t be as personable as we really want to be and catch up with these people we haven’t seen and do miss.’

She said she feared for many pubs, especially once the furlough schemes runs down in September.

One popular Sheffield pub, the Devonshire Cat, has already announced it will not be reopening after the lockdown.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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