Pubs will officially re-open on the 12th April, to serve customers sitting outdoors. Here’s our quick guide to pubs re-opening.
Pubs have sadly closed several times over the past year, due to multiple national lockdowns. Let’s look at the timeline of pubs closing, which, let’s face it is a pretty depressing sight!
March 2020 – the month that became an era. We all sat, dumbfounded, on our sofas, listening to Boris Johnson listing the new restrictions to control the Covid-19 pandemic. No school, no going into work, no going to non-essential shops, no going to the pub… wait, what was that? Surely not! No, you heard him right. Boris himself said:
“I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary: we’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that”
As necessary as the restrictions were at the time, we cannot wait to get out and enjoy a pint in our local boozer again.
November 5th – Guy Fawkes Night, or as it is now known, The Day The Pubs Closed for A Second Time in Britain, unless you were living in the North and already dealing with tier restrictions, in which case the pubs have probably closed more times than you can count.
We were all super excited when the second lockdown in November was lifted, but few of us escaped the heavy hand of the tier system. Apart from a few lucky ones who got to stay in tier 2 and even 1 (Herefordshire, we were so jealous), most of us were stuck in tier 2, 3 and even 4 the closer we got to Christmas, which meant pubs in these areas were only open for takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks. Unsurprisingly, people weren’t beating a path to their door (or food delivery app).
We all saw it coming, but we didn’t want to believe it. On the 5th January 2021, Boris Johnson once again announced a national lockdown, including the closure of the pubs. Now that the government has announced a roadmap out of lockdown, all that’s left to do is stare at our phones/watches, counting down the minutes until the pub re-opens.
In all seriousness, the pandemic and the several lockdowns to contain the impact of Covid-19 in the UK took a massive bite out of the food, drink and hospitality industry, including the pub sector.
According to British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin1, at least 5% of pubs in the country have closed due to the Coronavirus crisis. Tom Kerridge, who is a celebrity chef and pub owner and operator, said that this 5% equalled about 2,500 pubs.
That’s thousands of livelihoods and businesses lost due to Covid-19, not to mention the destruction of pubs that have been the hub of social contact, friendships and support in towns and villages.
When pubs re-open, they will very likely have the same Covid-19 protection measures as before, at least until June 21st, if not for longer. These are:
The substantial meal rule, which originally said pubs could only remain open and serve alcohol if they also served it with a substantial meal, are set to be scrapped when pubs re-open. This will be a relief to many who followed the increasingly confusingly debates between journalists and Matt Hancock about whether a scotch egg qualified as a substantial meal.
The golden question! Going to the pub is great, but going with someone else (not in the household you’ve been cooped up in for the last twelve months) is so much better. Meeting someone outside your home in the pub is even more important if you’ve been locked down alone.
You’ll be able to be served outside in a pub garden with up to 5 people from different households on the 12th April – this is called ‘the rule of six’. You can be seated and served inside a pub with up to five people from different households from the 17th May.
Here’s the all-important timeline, of when you can drink socially again.