Landlords say it will be 'brilliant' to open up pubs with no restrictions on July 19 after 'nightmare' during pandemic

LANDLORDS said it will be ‘brilliant’ to open up their pubs when restrictions are lifted next week after a ‘nightmare’ during the pandemic.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 2:34 pm
Tom Yaman, landlord of Duke of Devonshire Picture: Habibur Rahman

The government’s decision to open up the country on Monday July 19 - dubbed Freedom Day by some - means punters and staff won’t have to wear masks and customers can once again order drinks from the bar with table service no longer a necessity.

Despite the easing of restrictions, the government is still urging people to be cautious and use measures to counter the spread of Covid.

At the Downing Street press conference on Monday prime minister Boris Johnson also urged larger venues such as nightclubs to use a vaccine passport scheme ‘as a matter of social responsibility’.

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Angus Reid and his wife Sherry at The Chairmakers Picture: Habibur Rahman

Guidance published on the government website following the press conference said if ‘sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating the NHS Covid Pass in certain venues at a later date’.

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The decision to ease restrictions was met with relief by landlords.

Angus Reid, landlord of The Chairmakers, Apless Lane, Hambledon, said: ‘To be getting back to normal will be brilliant.

Sean Muns, landlord of The Kings in Albert Road, Southsea Picture: Fiona Callingham

‘We’ve lost out on up to 30 per cent of our drink trade during the pandemic because we did not have enough staff to do table service. We have 300 seats outside in our garden and it’s too big for two or three staff.

‘We’ve also had a lot of drinkers who did not come to the pub or turned away because they did not want to check in and give their details.

‘Hopefully we will now get our drinkers back who just want to come in for a drink - and see our freedoms back with people able to enjoy the pub.’

Angus did admit he was ‘anxious’ due to there being increased recent mixing with him also concerned if there was another spike in the winter. ‘We pray this does not happen and restrictions are brought back in as we found that serving people outside in the winter does not work,’ he said.

The landlord also poured scorn on the possibility of vaccine passports. ‘How many of these will be genuine? There will be fakes left, right and centre,’ he said.

‘They would not make any difference anyway. It is not up to us but is down to the government to enforce.

‘They would need a machine to check people otherwise it would cost us £30,000 a year to have someone on the door. It would be the worst thing they could do.’

Angus also said he was relieved staff would not have to wear masks with them contributing to sickness. ‘They are working 10 hour shifts in masks and visors. They are very hot and uncomfortable,’ he said.

Sean Muns, landlord of The Kings pub on Albert Road, Southsea, said they were looking forward to having ‘back to normality events’ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week.

‘Table service will stay for those who want it as I believe some people are still apprehensive,’ he said. ‘But those who want to go to the bar can do.

‘Wearing masks will also be down to the customers and staff. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the locals and some will carry on wearing masks which is fine.

‘If the government is only advising, that means it is not compulsory and I can’t make anyone do anything.’

He said vaccine passports were aimed at bigger capacity places and were a ‘good idea’ for those venues, before adding: ‘We will have to wait and see what happens with vaccine passports. I think if they come in they will be compulsory.’

Tom Yaman, landlord of the Duke of Devonshire on Albert Road, Southsea, said he would not be ‘insisting’ on anything that was not compulsory.

‘We are happy and looking forward to opening things up again,’ he said. ‘It has been a long time we have had restrictions. We need a relaxation of the rules. The trade has suffered for a long time.

‘We will be removing table service which is expensive as you need to hire extra staff and people will not have to wear masks.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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