By James Adebayo, T&A Property

With the great British summer well under way, we welcome the news that pubs have re-opened. With Covid-19 in mind, it will likely be a very different experience to what we are used to.

James Adebayo
James Adebayo

With significantly reduced capacity due to social distancing rules, the days of turning up to the local pub unannounced are over. Pubs will resemble something like a high-end nightclub, with a host checking your name and booking before granting you access to the premises. You will then be guided to your table or pre-booked area, and most pubs will be offering a
table-only service, again usually found in high-end nightclubs.

Booking a table in advance is a must. Many pubs have created their own apps or have made booking available via their website, but for more local pubs it’s best to call ahead to avoid disappointment. In many cases, they may also require you to put a deposit down to secure the booking and many may put minimum spends in place to ensure they are maximising the

You may be restricted to two-hour time slots for pubs to get fresh sets of customers in and out, so make sure you’re on time for your booking! As space is limited, each individual pub will have to decide whether they restrict the size of the group they allow at each table as this will have an impact upon the distance requirements.

Tables will be placed at least one metre apart and may have Perspex screens in between to stop the potential spread of germs. Tables will also be placed around the outside of the space, so you are not squeezing in between tables when heading to the toilets.

Toilets will have a one in, one out system in operation, with customers able to operate a traffic light system when going in and out. The toilets will also be cleaned more frequently.

‘As the first drink goes down you may start to relax and enjoy the atmosphere’

For those drinking establishments fortunate enough to have a beer garden, it will be a similar affair outside, with tables and areas booked. Many have installed pop-up bars similar to those seen at festivals, though they may have a limited menu available. As you are not in an enclosed space, it may be easier to manage a socially distanced queuing system at the bar.

Tables and areas will have barriers demarcating your space as it is more likely people will be standing if outside. The groups outside will also, potentially, be larger.

Pubs will now be exclusively taking contactless payments, and some of the larger chains have gone further and created an order and payment page within their apps. This will enable customers to order and pay from their seats and not crowd around the bar. Perspex screens will also be installed at the bar, however it is not intended for the bar to be accessible to
members of the public at this stage.

Some pubs will still be doing take-away drinks in plastic cups for those unfortunate enough to miss out on booking a table. This will be managed either by giving your order to the host at the door, or via apps.

You may notice there are a few more staff around. This will be necessary to cater to the new style of service, as well as keep up with the demand from the take-away orders. It will also be necessary to have extra staff on hand to keep the premises spotless, with regular cleaning of surfaces and toilets.

It will all seem strange at first but as the first drink goes down you may start to relax and appreciate the atmosphere even though it’s not what we are used to.

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