'Super Saturday' pub-goers set to be hit with downpours

1 July 2020, 19:06

Pub goers could be facing a downpour when the establishments open on 4 July
Pub goers could be facing a downpour when the establishments open on 4 July. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Downpours are set to hit revellers flocking to pubs when they reopen this weekend, forecasters say.

Strong winds and showers will lash parts of the country on 4 July as the next wave of lockdown easing is rolled out.

Dubbed “Super Saturday”, pubs, bars and restaurants are reopening for the first time since March, along with hair salons, cafes and museums.

But wet and windy weather will move in from the west during the morning, becoming heavy as the day goes on with 35-50mm expected to fall, although forecasters predict temperatures will reach 20C in some parts.

Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey said although the rain will lessen during the evening, low cloud and drizzly conditions will continue through to Sunday.

“Saturday will see more unsettled conditions, with showers beginning in the west during the morning which will begin to move across to the east,” she told the said.

Pubs have been closed since the end of March
Pubs have been closed since the end of March. Picture: PA

“While it won’t be unusually wet for the time of year, some areas in the east could become particularly heavy for an hour or two in the mid-morning to early afternoon.

“Pushing in after that will be a spell of drizzly downpours and some low cloud which will hang over the UK for the rest of the day.”

It will remain humid across the country, with maximum temperatures of 24C in London and the South East, while central and northern parts of England will reach highs of 20C.

Read more: A&E departments bracing themselves as pubs prepare to open on 'Super Saturday'

The rain could present particular challenges for pubs, which are relying on outdoor beer gardens - where the risk of infection is lower - to ensure social distancing and safety while open.

Strict hygiene measures including table service-only, protective equipment for staff, contactless payments will also be in place across the hospitality sector.

Police chiefs and medical leaders have predicted a large influx of “furstrated” drinkers in pubs this weekend amid warnings trouble could flare and leave understaffed A&Es overwhelmed.

Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said doctors, nurses and paramedics were “bracing” themselves, while Dame Cressida Dick, the Met Police chief, vowed a crackdown on anyone who is violent.

A spokesman from JD Wetherspoon, which plans to reopen all 750 of its venues on Saturday, said: “The weather is out of our control, but our pubs tend to be three times larger than others so we are not worried about people being inside our venues.

“We can’t predict what the weather will be like in England, but we have faith that our customers and staff will be as safe as possible.”

A spokesperson for Stonegate Pubs, which owns The Slug and Lettuce chain, said: “Throughout our pubs and bars, we are implementing clear, safe socialising measures both inside and across our outside spaces.

“We are encouraging customers to pre-book and all bookings work on a time-limit which enables us to manage capacity and customer expectation.”

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