Things are getting real. A cold pint feels only a stone’s throw away and I can smell the stale beer at the bar already! And now, news on the grapevine is that we could potentially be in the pub within just a few short weeks.
As much as we’re gasping for a swift pint, on a more serious note there is currently around three million jobs at risk within the hospitality sector, and the longer lockdown restrictions remain in place, the more chance these businesses will struggle to recover, with furlough scheme changes meaning many businesses may not be able to pay their staff.
The Financial Times reports that a group of ministers, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak, have been looking at ways to use beer gardens, terraces and other outdoor spaces which will help pubs open earlier and ‘save summer’. The issue is reportedly being discussed by the cabinet this Tuesday, with more information expected to be shared by officials later this week.
In addition to the restrictions on pubs being lifted, it’s also been reported that Boris Johnson has made an enquiry about taking the 2-metre spacing down to 1-metre to allow pubs to have the capacity for more guests within their spaces. British Institute of Innkeeping spoke to the BBC of the issue, saying that only one-quarter of pubs would be able to open with the current two-metre rule, and of those that could open, only 2% would make a profit due to decreased footfall.
While the outdoor seating is an issue for many pubs in Britain that don’t have such a luxury, the government is currently looking to pavement seating, which would allow for tables and chairs outside of the premises, with the ‘outdoor seating license’ potentially being axed, with lengthy approval times axed too. Cities such as Manchester are currently working to pedestrianise many of their busy spots, allowing for businesses to make used of the extra outdoor space to allow for social distancing.