How pubs and restaurants will change when they re-open after coronavirus lockdown

21 May 2020, 08:42 | Updated: 21 May 2020, 09:42

English pubs could reopen from July
English pubs could reopen from July. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Drinking at the bar could be stopped under guidance for the safe reopening of pubs following the coronavirus lockdown.

A hospitality industry trade body has suggested customers not being allowed to drink at the bar and tables being moved 2 meters apart to enforce social distancing.

Ahead of a potential reopening of pubs in July, trade group UKHospitality (UKH) has shared draft coronavirus guidelines to pubs and restaurants. These are the changes they are recommending.

Tables spaced out 2m apart
Tables will be moved to meet social distancing guidelines. Owners are hoping the guidance will be lowered from 2m down to 1.5m or even 1m to allow them to stay in business.

The end of the breakfast buffet
A breakfast buffet can sometimes be the highlight of a hotel stay, but that will be a thing of the past. No areas where people can share food will be allowed.

No salt and pepper shakers or ketchup bottles
If you want any condiments with your meal, instead of salt and pepper shakers being on your table, they will now come in a pre-sealed sachets to avoid contamination.

Cutlery brought out with meals
To make sure that knives and forks are not sitting on tables for long periods, cutlery would be brought out at the same time you receive your meal.

Disposable menus
Menus will be made of paper and used only once to ensure that germs are not spread via the menus.

No drinking at the bar
To allow people to move around the pub and get served, people will not be allowed to stand or sit at the bar.

Socially-distanced queueing
The days of crowding the bar hoping to be the next person served will be over. Queues will have to do socially-distanced, with punters 2m from each other - and also encouraged to keep their distance from staff.

Limits of children in play areas
To try to slow down any spread of disease among youngsters, UKHospitality is recommending a limit on the number of children in play areas.

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Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced some hospitality firms could be able to reopen from 4th July at the earliest in the third phase of the Government's easing of the lockdown.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive officer of UKH, said: "UKH is working hard with our members and alongside other industry bodies to develop practical and effective guidelines to enable businesses to begin to reopen safely when the time is right.

"These are draft guidelines that have been shared with governments in England, Scotland and Wales, to help inform their thinking around reopening.

"We hope that the guidelines will help businesses draw up their own plans based on their premises, ensuring that safety is at the forefront of operations when the right time comes to reopen."

The hospitality sector has been amongst the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with around a third of businesses predicting they will never reopen some sites.