Pubs WILL have to keep table service and social distancing from May 17 – all the rules explained

Pubs WILL have to keep table service and social distancing from May 17 – all the rules explained

05/10/2021

PUBS will welcome drinkers indoors again from May 17 in the latest stage of lockdown lifting, the Prime Minister confirmed.

Table service and social distancing measures are among the rules that will remain in place at bars and restaurants as they are allowed to reopen for serving indoors.

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It's the first time in months that indoor dining and boozing will be allowed after England was plunged into the third coronavirus lockdown on January 4.

Pub beer gardens and restaurant terraces opened again on April 12 for outdoor dining and drinking as part of the staged roadmap for leaving lockdown behind

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed today in a press conference that his roadmap remains on track.

The government's four tests which for the next stage of restrictions to be lifted have been met.

Coronavirus infection rates are falling along with deaths and hospitalisations, and new variants have not changed the risks.

Family will be allowed to hug each other and Brits will finally be able to go on a holiday abroad as travel to green list countries will go ahead.

The loosening of rules would will give Brits a well deserved taste of freedom – but it's thought the PM urged the public to use their "common sense."

The PM also confirmed:

  • Overnight stays for groups of up to six people or two households
  • Wedding, receptions and other parties can take place with up to 30 people
  • Cap on funeral numbers is lifted
  • Hugging is given the green light – but Brits must remain cautious
  • Holidays abroad, with Brits able to travel to green list countries without quarantine
  • Business and hospitality can reopen for inside service

What are the rules for pubs from May 17?

Indoor dining and drinking will be allowed again and more people can meet up in outdoor settings.

The good news is that there will NOT be a curfew when pubs open for indoor drinking.

And you won't have to order a "substantial" meal either like you did when rules were lifted last year.

Pubs will continue to offer takeaway pints too.

Here we explain the rules for indoor dining and drinking that you'll have to follow at pubs as they open up on May 17.

The latest rule changes comes as the Covid alert level dropped to three.

Rule of 6 inside

Groups of up to six people or two households will be able to meet up inside pubs, bars and restaurants.

The rule of six was first introduced on March 29 when people were allowed to meet up outside for the first time again.

It's the same rule which applied when restrictions were lifted on April 12 for going to beer gardens.

Up to 30 outside

The rule of six that was in place for beer gardens will change, allowing for more people to meet up outdoors.

Groups of up to 30 people can drink together outside from May 17, though this may be limited by capacity at some locations.

Table service

You'll have to stay at your table to get food or drink, just like you do now for ordering outside in beer gardens.

At venues which don't serve alcohol, customers can order and pick up food or drink (non-alcoholic) from a counter, but it must be eaten while seated.

Contactless ordering

There will be contactless ordering systems in place, with many pubs using apps and QR codes for menus and ordering.

This means contact is reduced between staff and customers and keeps everyone safer.

Relaxed limits on customers

There will be no limits imposed by the government on how long drinkers and diners can stay.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will have more room to seat people now indoors and outdoors are allowed to open.

But with social distancing in place it's unlikely places will be at full capacity yet, and it's up to each outlet whether they set limits on how long you can stay for.

Currently, many pubs have slots of a couple of hours per booking and this may continue.

It is up to a venue on whether they wish to impose a booking policy.

Staff wearing masks and gloves

Staff will continue to have to wear facemasks and gloves when they are providing service.

Customers have to wear face masks when they are inside, for example when going to the toilet and this is expected to continue on May 17.

This applies to everyone apart from those who are exempt – for example, if you have a disability or illness that makes you less able to wear one.

Check in with the NHS app

Every pub-goer must now check in with the NHS Covid app to get a pint – this will continue indoors too.

Previously when hospitality reopened in 2020, only the lead member of the group needed to provide contact details to check-in.

This also means that pub-goers will be told to book a test immediately if they sit near Covid drinker in a pub when restrictions ease.

Social distancing

Social distancing will remain in place in pubs, bars and restaurants with signage in place to remind customers.

Social distancing between family and friends will no longer be mandatory, though people are being told to remain cautious.

It means hugs with family and friends when you see them is allowed.

What will pubs look like when they reopen indoors?

Pubs will have to follow strict guidelines for keeping things Covid secure.

You're likely to find more space between tables to ensure social distancing and there be a smaller capacity because of this.

There will be signs up around pubs and bars reminding people to stay socially distanced and some may have one way systems to avoid close contact between people.

There may also be barriers or screens between tables to keep separate groups apart.

Signs reminding people to wash hands and wear a face mask are also likely along with notices about checking in to the NHS app.

Pubs have to clean more often and they will have to provide adequate ventilation and you may find windows and doors staying open because of this.

And music will be kept to a minimum inside to prevent shouting, singing and dancing.

Check out all the businesses allowed to open from May 17 when restrictions are lifted.

These are still some businesses that won't be able to reopen on May 17 – here's the full list.

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