Pubs in England open can open from 6am on 'Super Saturday'

3 July 2020, 16:15

Pubs will be allowed to open from 6am tomorrow
Pubs will be allowed to open from 6am tomorrow. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Pubs can reopen at 6am tomorrow as Britain braces for the next wave of lockdown easing, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the time was set in case "anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight".

Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to welcome back customers for the first time since March, in what has been dubbed “Super Saturday”.

Police and medical chiefs are bracing for a spike in demand as punters flock to pubs, but Boris Johnson has urged restraint.

The PM told LBC on Friday morning: "Tomorrow we come to step three of the plan that I set out on May 10, that everybody, I think, has understood, or huge numbers of people have understood and followed very carefully and very closely.

"And it's because people stuck to that plan that we're now able to carefully and cautiously open up hospitality tomorrow.

"And my message is really for people to enjoy summer sensibly and make sure that it all works."

Up until now, pubs have only been allowed to serve takeaway food and drinks. Strict social distancing and hygiene measures including screens, protective equipment for staff and table service-only will be in place for those sitting in.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, told LBC that the 6am timing was designed to scupper the "unfortunate" plans of some landlords to reopen at midnight.

She said it “makes it very, very clear that pubs are allowed to reopen in the daylight at 6am,” but added: “I don’t think a pub will be serving somebody [alcohol] in the morning."

“We need to get back to some form of normal life and we need to restore livelihoods - we have a million jobs that rely on the pub sector and we need to desperately try to save those jobs,” she said.

Read more: Full list of England's 73 quarantine-free countries published for first time

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

But earlier Ms McClarkin warned that pubs could be making financial losses “for some time” with up to 18,000 at risk of closure by the end of the year.

She said more than 40 per cent of pubs could go under “by the end of the year” if “reasonable trade“ does not resume from Saturday.

“We are hoping that 80% of pubs will reopen, but if 10% of them are profitable, that will be a surprise to us,” she said.

“Because the majority are expecting to loss-make or break-even.”

It comes as Downing Street said on Friday that pubs and restaurants will not have to limit the amount of time people can spend inside, amid reports there may be a two-hour limit for punters.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "It's not part of the regulations, as I understand it.

"Pubs, and restaurants in particular, as I'm sure lots of us will know, do sometimes put limits on the amount of time you can have a table for, for example."

Earlier Eddie Gershon, spokesman for Wetherspoon, said: "We don't have a license to sell alcohol here until 10am, but we'll open the door at 8am and I fully expect to see people waiting outside."

He added that punters would be trusted to follow social distancing rules.

"We won't be policing the toilets and we won't have staff walking around with a tape measure, we have signs up with very clear directions and our staff will be on hand to answer any questions,” he said.