Time for a pint? Well, we think so - carefully
Updated: Jul 3
On Saturday it is here at last - July 4; the long awaited big day when our beloved pubs are allowed to shakily emerge from the dark abyss of lockdown.
There are many rules and guidelines for the relaunch. We won't rehearse them all but they will change the nature of the pub experience for us, at least for a while. Pubs, or public houses to give them their Sunday name, are by definition for everyone. But simply wandering in for a quick pint may, for a bit, be a thing of the past. Where possible pubs will be using their outside space, where they have it. This was a splendid idea when we were basking in 30 degree temperatures, but now, in wettish July, that's not looking quite as attractive.
Inside it will no loitering at the bar to enjoy our much favoured vertical drinking and to chat with brother and sister loiterers - for many the whole point of going to a pub.There will be sanitiser a plenty and, really odd, that fancy continental type table service will become the norm for some venues - with tables booked ahead where possible. These will be spaced to ensure the desired social distancing. In some pubs there will be screens - cutting down on that casual pub banter even further. There should be no taking glasses back to the bar, trying to be helpful - a slighly curious habit some of us have.
Yes, it will be different. More signs and table service, with some staff sporting masks rather than their more usual smiles. We will be asked to pay by contactless card if possible, but this is already common. And oh, leave your name and address just in case there is a virus outbreak and you need to be traced. Crikey, now that is a bit different. Quite a few pubs won't open of course. Some want to wait a little, until they can see how it all works. We should respect that.
It does all sound very tricky. But it has to be done. The hospitality industry -
restaurants, cafes and hotels as well as pubs - has suffered enough.Hospitality is an important part of our economy, and the shattered economy must start fighting back as the blight of the coronavirus eases. Moreover, the British Pub is a unique national institution at the heart of many communities and must be cherished.
Some people won't want to rush to the pub, will be somewhat cautious, if not downright fearful. Some will have vulnerable people to further protect. We must respect that too. But we believe that publicans, as a breed, are responsible people. They prove it, week in and week out, in normal times. Publicans want their customers to be safe and happy on their premises. It's in their interest. All they will ask from customers is respect shown for their staff and the new way of operating along with, crucially, some commonsense.
It is likely to take quite some time for businesses to rebuild. Many will struggle, some not survive. They need our help now. The best way to give that, we sincerely believe, is - for those that can - to go for a tipple; carefully, sensibly, keeping to the new rules, keeping safe. Just not necessarily on Saturday.
Cask conditioned ale has, of course, been sorely missed during lockdown - bottled and canned crafty beer, no matter how good, just doesn't do it for many aficionados. Cask lovers, by nature generally sensible people, are likely to be amongst the first wave of keen 'returners' - as will we at Beer Tours UK. We may not dash out on Saturday night, but by Sunday afternoon we will likely boldly venture. Probably to the Big Hand Ale House in Chester a splendid tap venue owned by the eponymous Wrexham based brewery. There's not much outside space, but I know they have been working hard to make it all happen and keep people safe. Blimey, are we looking forward to a pint of their delightful Super Tidy, a gentle smooth drinking Welsh pale ale. We just hope we can get a table. Cheers.