Screenings or music of noisy football games, dance floors, bar rests, ketchup bottles and even sheltered from the rain are prohibited when English pubs will reopen on Saturday.
After more than three months closed due to the coronavirus, British pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are finally reopening to the public in a socially spaced way.
But there are rules that you – and the place – must follow to ensure that the pubs are as safe as possible and avoid a second outbreak.
Pubs will be asked to keep a list of everyone who comes in for an outbreak in 21 days – with multiple outdoor seats and tape to mark the distance on the floor.
Many toilets will have to be one inside, one outside and bar staff hidden behind screens to prevent the spread of the virus.
Bar managers will be told to work with their rivals on the same street to make sure they open their opening hours.
And bettors are warned that they cannot take shelter indoors in the event of a thunderstorm – otherwise they could cause an outbreak.
If you are in the beer garden, you can sit in a group of up to six – socially spaced – or in a group of two families of any size.
But if you’re at home, you can only sit with another family – and even then you should be socially distant.
Here are 13 ways pubs will look different, including the new rules they must follow.
1. Music or loud transmissions are prohibited to prevent people from screaming
Loud music or loud broadcasts like football will be banned to keep people from screaming at each other.
The guide says that all places “should ensure that steps are taken to prevent people from unduly raising their voices with each other.
“This includes, by way of example, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that could encourage yelling, even if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.
“This is due to the potential increase in transmission risk, particularly from aerosol transmission.”
It also says that “noisy background music, group dancing, singing or group singing” should be avoided.
Pubs can screen football games, but only in silence and you cannot sing.
2. Live music and dance floors are prohibited
The guide states that venues “should not allow live entertainment, including theater, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience”.
This serves to stop the “aerosol transmission” – both from the artists and from their audience.
In the same way it is allowed to open theaters, but only if they do not perform in a live show.
Dance floors in pubs and bars are also prohibited. “You should take steps to prevent close contact activities, such as common dance,” says the guide.
3. Ketchup bottles and cutlery are banned from the tables
Pubs and restaurants should provide cutlery and condiments “only when food is served”.
And the days of common ketchup or mayonnaise bottle are numbered, as pubs and restaurants are supposed to provide “only disposable condiments”.
Municipal bottles are allowed, but only if they are cleaned after each single use.
4. You will probably have to book and give all your names to the staff
Locals are advised to check numbers through an advance booking system.
But it’s also because all pubs, bars, restaurants and more are asked to help with the NHS Test and Trace program.
This means keeping a “temporary register of customers and visitors for 21 days”.
The guide does not say how to do it, but lists the visitors’ books or booking records.
Pubs will need to “assist NHS testing and tracing with requests for such data if necessary” in order to contain clusters or outbreaks.
5. Meeting rules must be followed
Gatherings are still limited in the following ways:
Inside the pub: No more than two families can meet simultaneously. Even then they must sit two meters away, or one meter social distance.
Outside in the beer garden: Groups of up to six, or a group of two families of unlimited size, can meet in a socially spaced rule.
That means no big parties, no long tables and no hugs, slaps and kisses, even if you’re drunk.
Bar managers are asked to remind people of the limit of meetings when they book.
6. The bar staff will be behind the screens
The guide recommends using screens or barriers to separate workers from each other and from customers at service points.
This could mean that the bar staff serves from behind a perspex screen to avoid transmission.
Staff are also asked to use back-to-back or side-to-side work (rather than face-to-face) if possible.
And staff members will need to be redesigned so that each person only has contact with a fixed number of others on their team.
The tables will be further spaced and the tape or floor paint will be used to mark the areas to help people respect social distances.
They should be two meters away – or one meter in case of “risk mitigation” such as screens, back or back seats or face covers.
7. Some toilets will be one-in, one-out
The guide recommends “one-way flow” systems to prevent people from grouping together – how to use one door as an entrance and one as an exit.
Pubs should also organize “one-way travel routes between transportation centers and locations,” he says.
But that’s a problem when it comes to pub toilets, many of which are narrow by narrow entrances.
In toilets, the guide urges pubs to use “a limited access approach, with one in, one outgoing”.
8. You will get more outdoor seats, table service and use the apps to order your drinks
Pubs are encouraged to put more outdoor seats – with the changes coming down the track to allow them to use the parking lots as beer gardens.
Outdoor table service “should also be encouraged,” says the guide – and table service should be followed as a rule to stop people’s queues.
“Where bar or counter service is inevitable”, people should be stopped from staying at the bar or counter after ordering or leaning on it.
Pubs are also told to “encourage the use of contactless sorting from tables where available, for example through an ordering app.”
9. You will not be allowed to stand the bar or shelter from the rain
Pubs are advised that they must plan to keep the rules of 2 meters or “one meter more” even if there is a thunderstorm.
They must be “clear that customers cannot seek shelter inside if social distances cannot be maintained”.
10. Indoor spaces should be significantly below capacity
It will be allowed to sit indoors, but the numbers are strictly limited.
The new 4th July coronavirus laws in England will make it illegal for groups of more than 30 people to form.
Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other places will be exempt from the “group of 30” law, which exists primarily to prevent things like raves.
But even so, the guide warns that pubs may have to reduce capacity even more than it would if they had all the tables two meters away.
The guide explains: “Even though it is possible to safely host a number of people within a location, it may not be safe for everyone to travel or enter that location.”
11. You will see this sign in the window
Pubs should work with their customers to communicate meeting restrictions to them.
This means not meeting indoors with more than one other family.
And it means not meeting outdoors with more than one other family or six people in total from any number of families.
In return, firms should also show a notification “in a prominent position” to demonstrate that a risk assessment has been carried out and are following the rules. A photo of the notice is above.
12. Nearby pubs must work together to open at different times
Individual businesses “should consider the cumulative impact of many locations reopening in a small area.
“This means working with local authorities, nearby businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and apply additional mitigation.”
This may have to include disconcerting entry times with other locations and “take steps to avoid the accumulation of queues in the surrounding areas”.
13. Players will be told to avoid public transportation or crowded sidewalks
Customers will be advised to “avoid particular forms of transport or routes and avoid crowded areas during transit to the office”.
Locals are told to reduce the “need for customers to queue, but where this is unavoidable, discouraging customers from queuing inside and using the outdoor spaces to queue where available and safe. For example, using some existing parking lots and external service areas. “
Parking and bicycle parking should be increased.
And if the pubs don’t obey, they could be closed
Critics say there is not enough legal recourse for people who claim that the rules are not being followed.
Commercial Secretary Alok Sharma said there will be spot checks and that any violations should be reported to the health and safety officer.
He said there will be spot checks, although doubts have been raised about how many of these are actually being carried out.
The guide insists that the government has the power to close venues that host large meetings.
Direct power over meetings was introduced under program 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.