Only one in five London residents say they will head to the pub on Saturday

3 July 2020, 12:48

Pubs can open their doors again from 4 July
Pubs can open their doors again from 4 July. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Only one in five London residents plan on returning to the pub this weekend, citing fears about social distancing and a potential second wave of coronavirus.

Pubs in England have been told they can reopen as part of the next phases of lockdown easing from 4 July, alongside other businesses including restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas.

However, despite the new government guidelines, only 80 per cent of people living in London say they would return to the pub.

Many of these people cited health and safety concerns as their reason for not returning, with many saying they thought pubs were opening too early.

Punters will have to order via an app at many venues
Punters will have to order via an app at many venues. Picture: PA

“It’s been three months since lockdown began," says health and safety company spokesman Mark Hall, "I think people are feeling a bit anxious about going to places that are likely to be busy, such as going down the local for a few drink.

“Our poll shows that people don’t want to take the risk just for a sake of a cheeky couple of pints.”

“I just don’t feel it’s safe yet.

"A lot of people have missed taking part in social activities during lockdown, but they’ve also taken on board the advice given to them about social distancing. So I think as much as people want to relax and hang out with their friends they are feeling a bit apprehensive about it."

When asked about a possible return to the pub, respondents said they "don't feel safe yet"and "want to wait until there is a vaccine."

One respondent said: “Personally, I’m going to wait and let other people experience it first. Once it’s been proven safe, I might go for a drink, ” with another echoing “I really, really, want to go for a drink. But I just don’t feel it’s safe yet.”

“Feasibly I could do it, but is it really worth all the extra hassle and faff of temperature checks and checking in?” a third respondent stated.

It comes as pub chains insist that they are doing their best to address the fears of customers by putting in place as many safety measures as possible.

Landlords up and down the country have had to make a series of changes to accommodate for new Covid-19 safety regulations for customers.

Many pubs will require punters to book online and ‘check-in’ to avoid overcrowding, and popular pub chains such as Wetherspoons will be asking customers to order drinks from their table using a phone app.

The lively pub atmosphere will also take a hit, as most pubs will have to restrict numbers inside in an attempt to social distance, and customers will have to adhere to one-way systems, order from single-use menus, and be served behind Perspex screens.

Landlord Tom said: “We’ve put up hand sanitiser stations everywhere, and all my staff are going to be kitted out in PPE. I’ve even told them to only handle glasses from the bottom to avoid contamination – I just hope this is enough to prove to the regulars we are taking their health seriously.”

But not all pubs are looking forward to reopening, such as a micropub in Suffolk called The Nutshell. The landlord says they are too small to implement social distancing, and that the only way he can serve customers is if they can get a permit to allow them to sit outside the front with their drinks. **

The online poll surveyed 980 people.