Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen in England from Saturday 4 July following months of closure due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
The reopenings are part of the wider easing of Coronavirus restrictions announced by Boris Johnson this week. However, when pubs and restaurants do reopen, they will have to follow COVID-secure guidelines so our experiences of them may be slightly different to usual. Here’s a look at some of the ways in which things may be different.
How will I be able to order food and drinks?
Guidelines advise that there should be as few contacts between customers and staff as possible. Where possible, it is recommended that ordering takes place via mobile apps or via a telephone call. Payments should be encouraged through either phone apps or contactless payments by card or smartphone device.
In some establishments, the use of such technology to order food may not be possible or practical. Where this is the case, restaurants and pubs may offer table service, with staff coming to you to take your order. Alternatively, ordering at a bar or counter may still take place in some settings, though staff may be wearing masks or be behind glass/plastic screens.
Will I have to social distance?
From July 4, the UK Government is recommending social distancing of 1m+ plus from others. Where possible, people should try and stay 2m apart, but in some settings, this is not as practical so 1m+ with other mitigations is deemed acceptable. Venues may rearrange their layouts to better allow for social distancing and as a result, there may be reduced capacity.
Will I have to eat/drink outside?
Most venues will still allow indoor seating, however, where outdoor seating is available, you’re likely to be encouraged to use it. This is because the Coronavirus is thought to spread less easily outdoors.
Will I be able to watch live sports and live entertainment?
COVID-secure guidelines state that live entertainment should not be happening in venues at this time. Guidelines also say that playing live music or broadcasts that could lead to people raising their voices should be avoided, due to an increased risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Will there be less staff?
Employers are being encouraged to operate with fewer staff than usual where possible to try and help allow social distancing and reduce the potential spread of the Coronavirus. Any administrative staff that can work from home are advised to do so.
Will there be reduced menus?
It’s possible that some establishments will have reduced food and drink offerings to start with. This has already been the case for some takeaway outlets and stores like Greggs that have already reopened.
Will I need to book a table?
Whether you need to book a table will vary by establishment. Some venues may require booking in advance to better allow for the avoidance of queues. If you can book, its probably advisable as otherwise you may need to queue or be unable to enter.
Will every pub and restaurant reopen on Saturday?
No – some venues will take a more phased approach to reopening and some, due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, look unlikely to ever reopen their doors again to the public. If you’re making a special trip, be sure to check with the establishment whether they are open or not before travelling.
With pubs and restaurants opening their doors for the first time in months, it’s likely that many will be busy on Saturday and so queuing in many places can be expected.