7 rules pub goers will have to follow as beer gardens reopen

PUBS and restaurants have reopened again today for the first time in months – but what rules do you need to follow?

It comes as Boris Johnson has urged the nation to "behave responsibly" to minimise a possible rebound in Covid cases.

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The hospitality industry has been given the green light to reopen to serve food and drink outdoors, as well as takeaway pints from today, April 12.

From May 17, businesses will be able to welcome punters inside for the first time in months.

It's a relief for boozers and drinkers who've not been able to sip on a pub pint since England was plunged into a third lockdown on January 4.

In areas that were placed into Tier 4 shortly after the second lockdown, the hospitality industry has been closed for even longer.


Last week, the PM said the vaccine rollout is to thank for getting Covid under control and getting Britain back on the road to recovery.

As the clock struck midnight, keen punters were seen waiting patiently in line for pubs to open.

Shaggy-haired Brits also flocked to get their hair cut for the first time in months.

What are the rules at pubs after lockdown?

There will be a number of rules you'll have to follow if you're planning a trip to your local pub.

The good news is that the Government has scrapped the hated 10pm curfew and punters don't have to buy a "substantial meal" either when they order an alcoholic drink.

Pubs are also allowed to offer takeaway pints, something which was banned during lockdown.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has ditched plans to force customers to show a Covid vaccine passport when they visit the pub for now.

The PM's change of heart came after an angry backlash from 72 MPs who branded the idea “divisive and discriminatory”.

Below we explain the rules that are still in place.

1. Table service

Like before, pubs and restaurants will have to offer table service.

At venues that don't serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter but they must consume it while seated at the table.

2. Contactless ordering systems

There will be contactless ordering systems in place in many pubs, such as at Wetherspoons, where customers are advised to order using the chain's app.

This is to help avoid unnecessary contact between staff and customers.

3. Face mask requirement

Face masks must be worn by staff and customers when not sat at a table – for example, when making a trip to the loo.

This applies to everyone apart from those who are exempt – for example, if you have a disability or illness that makes you less able to wear one.

4. Check in with NHS Covid app

Every pub-goer must now check in with the NHS Covid app to get a pint.

Previously when hospitality reopened in 2020, only the lead member of the group needed to provide contact details to check-in.

This also means that pub-goers will be told to book a test immediately if they sit near Covid drinker in a pub when restrictions ease.

5. Outdoor seating only

From April 12, customers will only be allowed to sit outdoors with table service.

Customers will then be able to sit inside from May 17 but pubs must continue to offer table service.

6. Rule of Six

The Rule of Six was brought back on March 29, which means six people or two households are able to sit together outdoors.

When sitting in a beer garden, the rule of six, or two households mixing, will also apply.

7. Social distancing rules and one-way systems

You'll also have to follow social distancing rules and follow any one-way systems in place at your boozer.

There will be signs and posters to guide you around the venue.

What will pubs look like when they reopen?

Pubs must follow the Government's Covid-secure rules to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Businesses are advised to put up perspex "sneeze screens" between tables so customers can socially distance, although this isn't a requirement.

In larger pubs, the tables will need to be rearranged so that they sit at least a metre away from the next one.

In places where you can order food, diners should be handed a paper menu that will be binned after it's been used.

Napkins and cutlery should only be brought out to customers along with their grub to cut the risk of transmission.

Self-service buffets will be banned and waiters will have to wash their hands between serving different tables.

Like other non-essential retailers, pubs will have to increase their cleaning regime.

What are the chains doing?

Britain's favourite boozers including Wetherspoons, Greene King and Fullers have confirmed they will be reopening a raft of pubs today.

Greene King is taking bookings for tables in 442 of its beer gardens when restrictions lift, and Wetherspoons will be reopening almost 400 pubs.

Fullers will be reopening 68 pub gardens, while Young's brewery is taking reservations for April 12 too.

If you're planning on taking a trip to your local 'Spoons, you won't be allowed to go inside except to go to the loo.

Unlike many other chains, you won't be able to book ahead for a table at Wetherspoons – so you may be asked to wait outside until space frees up.

There will also be a reduced menu on offer too, which will include breakfast options, burgers, pizzas, deli deals, fish and chips and British classics.

You’ll be able to grab a bite to eat from 9am to 8pm seven days a week.

If you're heading to your local Greene King branch when it reopens, then you might want to check when kicking out times are.

Some pubs will have reduced opening hours and menus which will be updated on their own individual website.

Although Greene King is taking bookings for tables, the chain told The Sun that people can arrive without booking in advance and will still be seated – although you might have to wait until one is free.

Boris Johnson confirmed the plan for easing the country further towards normality during a Downing Street press conference last week.

Brits desperate to sip on a pint have rushed to book tables for opening day.

Meanwhile, The Sun took a sneak peek at a Wetherspoons beer garden to find out what it'd be like when it opens today.

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