Coronavirus: Guidelines for safe pub reopening drawn up

21 May 2020, 08:39

Customers could be banned form drinking at the bar when pubs reopen
Customers could be banned form drinking at the bar when pubs reopen. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Pubs could significantly change as they start to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.

Recommendations from one trade body include 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 which suggest limiting the number of children allowed in play areas, having staff patrol smoking areas and asking customers not to return glasses to the bar.

The plans also suggest restaurant tables would be spaced to meet social distancing guidelines, cutlery would be brought out with each meal and condiments provided in individually wrapped sachets.

Revealed in a 75-page document submitted to ministers, the proposals from trade body UKHospitality offer a first glimpse into a new socially distanced world of eating and drinking when Britain reopens, the Telegraph reports.

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Hospitality businesses have been closed since Boris Johnson put the country into lockdown in March with warnings from industry bodies warning 15,000 pubs could close permanently due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Government is reported to be in discussions with the hospitality industry to see if pubs with beer gardens can open, perhaps earlier than other businesses.

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

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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."

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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.