Pubs welcome lockdown lifting with ‘open arms’ but lament lack of Euros trade

·2-min read
Social distancing is expected to be scrapped in pubs from 19 July (Getty Images)
Social distancing is expected to be scrapped in pubs from 19 July (Getty Images)

Pubs are welcoming the further lifting of lockdown restrictions with “open arms”, as the industry laments lost trade during Euro 2020.

The prime minister announced on Monday the measures to be scrapped in England after 19 July, including the end to social distancing in pubs.

Customers are also set to be able to order at the bar – instead of relying on table service and apps – from this date.

Steven Alton, the head of a body representing workers in the industry, told The Independent that members were “hugely looking forward to being able to trade freely” after around a year and a half of “heavily impacted trade with ongoing Covid restrictions”.

“For the majority, any restrictions on their venues have meant that they have been trading at a loss at best, whilst others have not been able to open at all,” the chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping said.

“Social distancing and table service has meant they cannot welcome customers in the numbers that they need for profitable trading.”

He added: “Missing out on packed pubs for the Euro matches, particularly with the recent success of the England team has been disappointing, but the staycation boom will see a huge rise in consumer demand, and our nations’ pubs will stand ready to serve customers once more."

In London, Anna Luisa Santaniello told The Independent her pub has not been able to reopen since closing for lockdown.

This is due to past restrictions which put limits on customers, as well as a lack of tourists, office workers and football fans going to stadiums in the area, she said.

“We cannot wait to reopen our pub, so we are very excited about that,” the general manager of The Pembroke in Earl’s Court told The Independent.

Chris Jowsey, the head of Admiral Taverns, which has hundreds of pubs across the UK, said lifting all restrictions from 19 July will be “critical for the future” of the pub industry.

“It is long overdue and we’re looking forward to pubs being able to operate without any restrictions,” he told The Independent.

A spokesperson for pub chain Wetherspoon said: “We will look into what the government is proposing later this week, having discussed with pub teams during our calls on pubs in the interim.

“In broad terms, Wetherspoon, like the industry, welcomes with open arms, any signs of normality.”

Boris Johnson held a press conference on Monday afternoon, confirming that pending a final review next week, all remaining lockdown measures should be lifted on 19 July.

He also announced that employees no longer need work from home, and that face masks will no longer be required in many settings, as well as easing restrictions for pubs and restaurants.

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