Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement pubs in England can resume trading from 4 July, Butcombe revealed the Ostrich and the Swan, both in Bristol, and the Methuen Arms in Corsham, Wiltshire, will reopen first on 8 July.
It also announced that a day later trading will resume at the Castle Inn in West Lulworth, with Butcombe’s remaining 26 sites across Somerset, Bristol, Bath, Gloucester and Wiltshire to reopen under a staggered schedule.
The brewer and pub operator also explained a number of new health and safety measures would be introduced across its estate to ensure compliance with Government safe reopening guidelines.
These include cashless payments, readily-available hand sanitiser, table service only, single-use recyclable menus, constant capacity monitoring to prevent overcrowding, regular cleaning checks and strict social distancing measures.
What’s more, in line with non-mandatory guidance on track and trace regulations, Butcombe pubs will collect contact details from customers and keep them on file for 21 days.
“We welcome this guidance from Government,” Jayson Perfect, managing director of Butcombe pubs and inns said.
“We’ve always said there are no gold medals for opening first so we’re busy making sure our team members and customers are happy and comfortable with the new procedures we’ve put in place to keep them safe.
“We’re confident that when we do open our customers will feel welcomed and experience an authentic pub environment."
This approach mirrors the pattern Butcombe’s Channel Islands-based owner Liberation Group has implemented for its sites on Guernsey and Jersey, with four sites initially opening on each island on 15 and 16 June respectively.
Early trading in the eight reopened Liberation Group pubs on Guernsey and Jersey suggests that Covid-19 lockdown hasn’t damaged consumer confidence despite stringent on-trade distancing measures.
Butcombe’s announcement follows news reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA) that Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator Greene King plans to reopen 1,294 of its managed pubs on 6 July, while Shepherd Neame plans to resume trading at least two thirds of its pubs before the end of July.