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Only half of the Forum of British Pubs will actually open on Saturday

by LLB staff reporter

Leading pub membership organisation, the Forum of Private Pubs, is reporting that only 50% of our pubs are likely actually to open on Saturday, based on a survey of their members undertaken over this weekend.

Specifically focusing on the guidelines issued by the Government, only 27% of the pubs responding felt they were clear and easy to understand and less than a third said that they are achievable and can be implemented by the 4th July, particularly with the risk of an immediate high customer demand and likely behavioural issues.

Having suffered severe cashflow issues whilst the lockdown has been in place, only 14% believe that it is financially viable for their pub to open with the guidelines in place.

Customers expecting a ‘good drinking session’ may be disappointed with only 50% of the pubs responding having ordered stock for the 4th.

Chief Executive of the Forum of British Pubs, Ian Cass said, “The guidelines issued by the Government last week were not well written, and in many ways impractical. For example, just the simple issue of capturing visitors’ details, which should be a simple task is far more complicated than you would think.

“The government GDPR advice is that when people are filling in a form, they must ensure that their details can’t be seen by others. So, if you use, for example, a visitor book, everyone filling it in can see other peoples’ details, which is a breach of the law.

“So, pubs have to buy expensive GDPR compliant visitor books that are designed for people visiting businesses and are not designed for customers going into pubs. And you may need a lot of these books if you have lots of customers coming in and out.

“The distancing rules are also simply impossible to implement in some of the older more rural pubs, and failure to adhere to the advice to the letter will leave many pubs exposed to their insurance being invalid.”

The award winning 19the century Oxford Arms in Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, is one such pub that will not be opening. Landlord Bryn Jones said, “Taking into account the extra precautions (shields, masks, gloves), limited table service, collecting customers’ full details, social distancing rules (1 m+ / 2 m), no COVID-19 business insurance cover, with us only able to accommodate a 30% capacity and accrued rent due during the lockdown it is not economically viable at the moment to reopen.

“Normally at this time of the year we would be completely booked out but acting responsibly in line with the guidance issued by the government, regrettably we have no option but to stay closed.”

“While we want nothing more than to open the doors and have a busy pub once again, we also value the health and safety of our customers and staff. We are keeping the situation under review and will let everyone know when the big day is on the horizon!

“In the meantime we will be continuing our lockdown alternative, where we have been welcoming customers old and new through our “Eat Out at Home” service. Many people have enjoyed being able to order from our menu and have said they want us to keep it up – so we are doing just that!

“We want to be sure that we are able to bring back the Oxford Arms eating experience properly – and that means relaxed eating in a cosy setting.”

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