Publican "desperate" for guidance on how pubs will look post-lockdown

22 June 2020, 15:37 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 15:55

By Fiona Jones

This caller works for a pub chain and outlined how many aspects of pub life need to be considered before reopening.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday that the hospitality sector will reopen on 4 July, and also announce the outcome from a review of the two-metre social distancing rule, which could see a reduction to one metre.

Ned from Tottenham works for a small firm of pubs and told LBC he is on tenterhooks: "We haven't had any definite guidance from Boris and what we're absolutely desperate for for him to say tomorrow is give us some absolute definite prescriptive guidance.

"Can we, for example, allow a group of people who come from the same household to be roped off so they don't have to be separated because they won't have to be separated in a park?

"What's going to happen with liability insurance? What's going to happen with the furlough scheme if we have to have a flexible scheme if there's another spike in infections and there has to be another lockdown?

"What we want is detail and we want detail more specifically about how we need to set up the pub because at the moment what we've got is this thing where: do we need perspex or not? Do we need to remove tables or not? Do we need 20 soap dispensers dotted around the pub or not? Should we order this now or not?"

He continued, "Because of the absolute lack of guidance, everyone's at a loss. Then there will be a race tomorrow, if he does give us detailed guidance, there'll be a race tomorrow to get to all these suppliers and find ways of adapting our pubs."

Ned told LBC that there are lots of pubs that still have beer in their cellars and there is a scheme being partly managed by HMRC allowing pubs to pour kegs down the drain and claim back VAT.

"That scheme as far as I can see has not really started working yet," he said, "you've got lots of pubs with cellars full of beer who can't bring in more beer because they literally haven't got the room, and they're not yet being allowed to throw the beer down the drains.

"When they are given the go ahead from HMRC, they have to get the go ahead from the water authorities, so there's a lot of stuff that needs to be put in order."