Pub rules in England set to change next week – customers to make own decision with masks

Philip Schofield questions whether pubs should reopen early

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week that England’s latest step in its roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned on Monday. This means that from July 19, it will not be a legal requirement for people in England to wear a face covering or social distance.

The UK’s major supermarkets have already announced their stances on mask wearing and social distancing in stores from Monday.

Most shops will be encouraging customers to continue wearing masks to keep each other safe.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, and Waitrose have all said they will be reminding customers to wear a face mask on entry to their stores, despite the rule change.

But what new rules will there be in place in pubs?

Pubs will look almost like they did before the pandemic on Monday.

Customers will no longer need to wear a face covering or adhere to social distance rules.

People will even be allowed to drink standing up and order at the bar once again.

However, all businesses can still ask customers to wear a mask on entry, and the option to use the NHS Track and Trace app will remain.

What can you expect from major UK pub chains on Monday?

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Young’s

With around 220 pubs across the country, Young’s is a British pub chain founded in 1831.

The company has said it will no longer ask staff or customers to wear masks in the pub.

A spokesperson said it will be everyone’s personal decision, saying: “We will leave it to them to decide for themselves to or not to wear a mask.”

Pub branches will continue to accept orders through the Young’s app, but customers will also be able to order a drink at the bar.

Greene King

Another popular British pub chain, Greene King has said it will be easier for its staff if customers continue to order drinks through its app.

However, punters can go to the bar if they prefer.

Greene King pubs will continue to display the Track and Trace QR code on entry to their premises, and masks will be encouraged in busy spaces but not mandatory.

A spokesperson for the company said: “With confirmation from the government that restrictions will be relaxed on 19 July, we can finally look forward to getting back to what we do best and bringing back the pub experience that our customers have missed so much.

“While we will be loosening restrictions, such as social distancing, we will continue to follow government guidance on safety and will be retaining our Pub Safe promises, which include enhanced cleaning, to ensure that our customers and team members feel safe in our pubs.”

Wetherspoons

Wetherspoons, which runs more than 870 pubs across the UK, has revealed its updated rules for customers from July 19.

People will be able to meet in its premises in groups larger than six, and face masks will be optional.

However, the company has said that it will be urging drinkers to keep using apps rather than order at the bar.

It said: “Since uncertainty remains as to the future impact of Covid-19, Wetherspoon has decided to revert to the successful measures which were agreed between local authorities, health authorities, licensing authorities and other parties, when pubs reopened in England, after the first lockdown, in July 2020.”

Tim Martin, Wetherspoons’ chairman, added: “It is hoped that arbitrary and capricious government rules, which have been a regular feature in recent months, such as the requirement for substantial meals, curfews and table service, which have no scientific provenance, can be avoided in future.

“These sorts of rules damage the economy, are extraordinarily difficult for pub staff to implement and are invariably regarded by customers as absurd.”

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