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Pubs, bars and restaurants re-open 4 July: bookings, safety measures and what to expect

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Megan Murray
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Not sure what to expect this weekend when pubs, bars and restaurants re-open? Check out our simple guide to prepare.

We, like most of the country, are elated that pubs, restaurants and bars will be re-opening this weekend, and yet, it can feel a little daunting not knowing what this reality will look like.

At Stylist HQ, we’ve spent our Zoom calls wondering whether or not our favourite spots will be accepting bookings only, taking temperature checks at the door, or limiting parties over a certain size

Here, we have laid out both the anticipated changes of most venues based on what the government has asked for, as well as interviewed restaurant owners to find out what they will be doing specifically to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

We hope this gives you an understanding of how different venues are reacting and what to expect from 4 July. Plus, an easy guide on how to stay safe while you’re out socialising. 

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How will pubs, bars and restaurants generally look and operate differently?

Each venue will have a different plan individual to its layout to deal with coronavirus, but there are some practises that will be likely used across the board. All will make your experience quite different to the last time you went out for something to eat or drink.

CleanedUp is a company that produces hand sanitiser stations, which are being placed around the UK in order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. CleanedUp predicts that bars will have protective shields and hand sanitisers by the tills and other areas that pose the most risk (food preparation areas, card machines, tables).

CleanedUp also say that, much like shops,, restaurant floors will most likely be marked out with stickers. Posters, too, will be displayed with clear information and guidelines for customers to follow. It’s expected that cleanliness will be a top priority with cleaning procedures occurring hourly and hand sanitiser pumps positioned around the venue.

We also know that the government has asked restaurants to ensure that they take the contact details from at least one person per booking, which means venues may adapt a bookings only policy to make this easier, so it’s best to ring ahead and check. Plus, only people from two households are supposed to socialise indoors so if you’re booking a table inside you may be questioned on who lives where, but this is at the discretion of the restaurant.

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Will you be going to the pub this weekend?

What is the action plan of some of my favourite restaurants?

Although every restaurant is different, to get a more specific idea of how some restaurants plan on tackling Covid-19 as well as balancing safety and ensuring guests have a good time, we’ve reached out to some of London’s most talked about restaurants to quiz them on the changes they will be making to re-open on 4 July. 

Hawksmoor

The last three months have undoubtedly been a difficult time for all those in the hospitality industry. Speaking to stylist.co.uk, co-founder of Hawksmoor Will Beckett describes March as “the worst time in my professional life, and the months that have followed have been hard work”. However, he’s confident that the restaurant chain will survive and flourish in the coming months.

He continues: “We have comprehensive enhanced hygiene plans that run to many many pages. Our general plan is to work extremely hard to make sure our restaurants are safe, so that customers can just enjoy their meal as they always have.” 

When questioned on whether restaurants re-opening could lead to a second spike, Beckett admits that, although this could be a possibility, he feels restaurants are already experienced at dealing with risks and are well equipped to minimise them. 

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Petersham Nurseries 

The Petersham Nurseries is a botanic-filled brand of restaurants in both Covent Garden and Richmond, often hailed as one of the most beautiful dining spots in the city. 

Social distancing means that tables will be reduced in both restaurants and to give more guests a chance at securing a booking, they have decided to extend opening hours for the cafe into the evening for the first time since the brand’s inception. 

The restaurant has also undertaken a strict risk assessment to prioritise the safety of all those on site and alongside limiting the number of customers at all times and re-positioning the layout of the restaurant. They are minimising contact at the table and following stringent cleaning procedures at all times.

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Safety measures will be in place in all venues to combat Covid-19.

Dalloway Terrace 

Tucked away off Goodge Street, The Dalloway Terrace is a charming al fresco restaurant as part of The Bloomsbury Hotel. 

In the wake of coronavirus the restaurant’s new measures will include social distancing with a minimum of one metre between tables and clear signage guiding guests, availability of menus on personal devices via a QR code and availability of alcohol-based hand sanitisers and the thorough sanitisation of tables and tableware before every sitting.

Reservations will also be staggered with no more than 10 bookings at a time, plus table time is now limited to an hour and 45 mins, to allow 15 minutes of cleaning before each new reservation. Booking is essential to guarantee a table, and although they will allow reservations to book on the door, they will require the details of at least one person from each reservation – in order to cooperate with the Government’s Track & Trace system.

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How can I stay safe when going to the pub, bars or a restaurant?

CleanedUp also has some advice on staying safe against Covid-19 and how you can best protect yourself and others when out and about. Here, the company shares with us a simple five-point check-list to prepare yourself before heading off to meet your friends.

1. Stick to social distancing rules 

The new guidelines are that people must remain at least one metre apart, however if you can give people two metres, then all the better. Pubs may enforce social distancing measures such as providing one metre floor markers to make it clear where you’re supposed to stand (particularly around the bar, front desk and till), limiting the amount of guests allowed into the venue and keeping some tables empty to further separate groups of people.

2. Use the hand sanitiser stations provided

It may feel like an annoyance to cover your hands in a sticky gel every time you see a hand sanitiser, but it really is a crucial part of keeping yourself safe. Hand sanitisers are a quick and easy alternative to handwashing, and provide an unbeatable solution for minimising the spread and protecting others around you from Covid-19 so try and use them at every opportunity. 

3. Take note of any signage on the floors or walls of a venue

One-way systems may be put in place via stickers on the floors, so stick to those in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay safe. Take note of the posters and signage asking people to wash or sanitise their hands, cover their mouth when they cough, and sneeze either into a tissue or their arm if necessary. Remember, each pub is different and may have different rules so it’s worth taking note at each venue you visit.

4. Bring a face mask with you 

It is essential to wear a face mask on public transport - so if your journey to the pub does involve a bus or a train then you will need to wear one. To be extra safe, you can pop your face mask back on when walking through the bar, going to the toilet or ordering at the till.

5. Monitor your own health

Monitoring your own health is an extremely important part of protecting yourself and others. Whilst it’s exciting to be stepping foot in our beloved locals again, if you’re feeling slightly under the weather then please stay at home.

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.