While a smattering of post-lockdown teething problems for England’s pubs and bars were afforded disproportionate column inches as trading resumed on 4 July – “Super Saturday” – an overwhelming number of operators reported compliant customers and a successful day back in business.
Latest numbers on pub reopenings from the British Beer & Pubs Association:-— Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies) July 3, 2020
England has about 37,500 pubs.
About 28,000 (75%) can open at 1m social distancing.
Of those, about 22,400 (80%) plan to open tomorrow.
So that's 60% of English pubs. #SuperSaturday
Social distancing measures
Pubs that reopened on 4 July had been closed for a grand total of 106 days – more than 15 weeks – since Prime Minister Boris Johnson called last orders on 20 March.
As we reopen today, we have introduced new measures for everyone’s safety, including temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, the taking of customer contact details and much more.— The Rose & Crown (@rosecrownsnetti) July 4, 2020
These measures are in place to provide the safest possible environment for everyone. pic.twitter.com/TReK3VVzMW
Sampling something new
A number of customers returning to their local over the weekend may even have been greeted by drastically different food, drink and décor from their last visit as a number of operators used the enforced closure to revamp their business.
Proud of our new refurb & hope you enjoyed seeing what we’ve been up to if you have visited us since we re-opened We have opened up interiors so everyone can enjoy our view & with plenty of extra space, we have lots of room for social distancing pic.twitter.com/XXlfijmvZX— Bowgie Inn (@BowgieInn) July 5, 2020
Despite well publicised scenes from Soho in London's West End, and a handful of pubs that had to close amid anti-social behaviour, an overwhelming number of operators saw safe and successful trading alongside customer compliance with new measures.
https://t.co/TyRgDH5Tuy. Like it never stopped. The BEST guests. Kind, patient and lovely. The cacaphony of dining noises broughr tears to my.eyes as I cooked away solid all DAY! 1st stop now and it was all worth it. It was exactly as it should be. THANKYOU for your support X— Parkers Arms (@parkersarms) July 4, 2020
Well the surveys were right. Our towns and villages across Greater Manchester were busy last night. People stayed local. More importantly, on the whole, customers followed guidelines and respected each other. Well done Greater Manchester!— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) July 5, 2020
What a #SuperSaturday The highest ever daily take. Everyone & I mean everyone socially distanced & hand sanitised. Families reunited & guest expectations exceeded. Am I tired? Tbh I am shattered but so happy. Tomorrow we do it again but with roasties!. @BIIandBIIAB@UKHospKatepic.twitter.com/Sn5kvTdEuU— Trevor Brown (@biibizdoc) July 4, 2020
The media hoped last night would be a car crash for pubs and restaurants, but actually it was brilliant nearly everywhere and customers loved being social human beings again. Well done everyone. @UKHospKate— Hugh Osmond (@hughosmond) July 5, 2020
Ran a bar shift tonight for the first time in a little while. Really proud that we were able to hire 15+ staff recently out of work. They all have rent to pay and reopening has allowed this to happen. Big thank you to everyone that came for a socially distanced drink tonight!!!— Jaega Wise (@jaegawise) July 4, 2020
Big thanks to @EssexPoliceUK for constant patrols yesterday evening. Every 15 minutes we saw some of your team passing by. Was reassuring even though we have very well behaved customers. Thank you all. @yourcolchester@ColchesterBID— Church Street Tavern (@ChurchStTavern) July 5, 2020
Delighted we got the first venue back open on Saturday and that guests had a great, safe experience. This week we are back open outside at Mrs Fogg’s (City), Cahoots (Soho) on the ground floor & outside, and at Mr Fogg’s (Fitzrovia). pic.twitter.com/7LR9bIY8SO— Simon Allison (@simonjallison) July 6, 2020
A number of famous faces got in on the act over the weekend including the Duke of Cambridge and former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – as well as The Morning Advertiser’s own Ed Bedington also making the most of resumed trade.
We were delighted to receive a visit from The Duke of Cambridge today to show his support for the people, businesses and members of staff across the country who have been impacted by this crisis.— The Rose & Crown (@rosecrownsnetti) July 3, 2020
The Duke was very interested to hear of our own personal experiences of lockdown. pic.twitter.com/8ZoyVquz3R
#PubsOpening#4thJuly— Merlin Griffiths (@MerlinFDC4) July 3, 2020
Pubs are getting ready to welcome people back.
Thinking of going to the pub this weekend?
Pubs have been given safety guidance so here’s a few things you can expect. We've missed you BTW.#BeSensible#EnjoySummerSafely@DrAlexGeorgepic.twitter.com/8ugSQIrFkZ
Independence weekend at the Merry Harriers in Hambledon... a pint, great food and even llamas to entertain the little ones...thank you Jake and the team at @merryhambledon pic.twitter.com/2mLMJonVms— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 5, 2020
Support still needed
However, despite the fantastic efforts of pub and bar operators across the country over the weekend, it’s still far from back to normal for the on-trade as a number of staff and sites weren’t able to return to work on 'Super Saturday', while isolated incidents highlighted that Government warnings and safety measures still haven’t completely hit home.
We're not saying never, just not yet!— The Slip Inn (@theslipinnyork) July 1, 2020
Sadly, The Swan, Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms will not be re-opening this weekend.
Like many smaller community-focused pubs we will wait until we can open in a way that's sufficiently safe, enjoyable and viable.
Quite possibly the worst pub shift I've ever done, everyone's just forgot theres a pandemic happening. 90% of people giving me change, no one listening when I tell them to queue, people trying to take chairs from other tables— Multi (@TR_Multi) July 4, 2020
Now pubs are starting to reopen they need your support more than ever. pic.twitter.com/iPIU72mxes— British Beer & Pub Association (@beerandpub) July 4, 2020