Super Saturday in England as pubs open at 6 am; PM Johnson requests pub-goers to be safe and sensible

english pubs

Pubs in England will open today at 6 am (BST) as lockdown measures eased past midnight. Downing Street said the opening time for pubs was a “sensible precaution” to avoid midnight parties that may be conducted to celebrate the reopening of the pubs which were shut since March.

British Summer Time (BST), the civil time in the United Kingdom, is advanced one hour forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) so that mornings have one hour less daylight and evenings get one hour more.

The pub industry said the reopening was “fantastic” but urged customers to respect staff and changes in practices. Pub-goers are being encouraged to book tables in advance, while live gigs and standing at the bar will not be allowed, BBC reported.

Downing Street said normal licensing rules would still apply, so pubs can only serve alcohol at the usual time they are allowed, but some establishments open early to serve breakfasts and coffee.

The 35,000 or so pubs and small bars trading in England have been closed since 20 March. The majority of them will be opening up again on Saturday, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson  announced a significant relaxation of lockdown measures last week, along with an easing of social distancing rules from 2m to “one metre plus”.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Johnson rejected suggestions that opening pubs on a Saturday was a recipe for trouble, suggesting it would have made little difference to wait until Monday. “I hope people will do this safely and sensibly…My message is let’s not blow it now folks”.

Dubbed “Super Saturday” in some quarters, there may be nerves in Number 10 as they look to see how people respond to a further easing of lockdown.

But going to the pub will be very different, due to a range of new restrictions including limited numbers, mandatory table service and protective screens. There will be an option of ordering food on apps. Staff will be encouraged to wash their hands before handling plates and cutlery. Music should be kept at a low volume to avoid people needing to shout, which increases the risk of transmission. Pub-goers will be encouraged to book tables in advance and live gigs and standing at the bar will not be allowed.

Here are the other guidelines:

§  Controlled access to toilets

§  Bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise will be replaced by individual sachets

§  Customers will also be encouraged to sit outside in pub gardens, while some indoor seating areas will be separated by plastic screens.

§  Social distancing has been reduced from 2m (6ft) to 1m in Northern Ireland and will be cut from 2m to 1m plus from Saturday in England. Restrictions apply in both cases.

§   Contact details only need to be taken from one person in a group, the details must be kept for 21 days

§   Customers only need to give their name and phone number. Owners should also note their arrival time, and how long they stay

§    Data can be taken in any way – on paper, online or during a phone booking

§   People can refuse to give information, but owners can choose not to serve them

§    In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants are set to reopen from July 6. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to use indoor areas from July 15 on a limited basis. The First Minister has said she’s also been getting advice on reducing social distancing to 1m.

§   Some pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales will be able to reopen outdoors from July 13.