Opinion: ‘Time to back our precious pubs and restaurants’

Pubs and restaurants can reopen today (July 4). Picture: Edward Olive

Pubs and restaurants can reopen today (July 4). Picture: Edward Olive - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than 100 days after the UK shut up shop and went into lockdown, pubs around the country are dusting off the taps and wiping down the bars ready to reopen.

It has been a tough period for all businesses, with revenue streams cut off and customers told to stay indoors, and pubs are no exception.

Which is why I’m sure many publicans and their patrons will be relieved to finally have the chance once again to enjoy a summer’s evening with a cold pint. But the struggles are not over just yet.

READ MORE: How a Belsize Park pub has adapted to weather the coronavirus stormWith the government only gradually easing lockdown, pubs will have to adhere to strict “Covid secure” rules to ensure the safety of their staff and clientele.

Table service will be obligatory and only one employee will manage each table - no more getting a round in at the bar.

This comes as a 19th century pub looks set to reopen on the site of the old Rosslyn Arms in Hampstead.

Landlord Ei Group Ltd has had “significant interest” in the venue, despite other venues in the area remaining closed, such as the Old White Bear in New End and the Magdala in South Hill Park.

As someone who was born and bred in St Albans - a city which sometimes claims to house the most pubs per square mile in the country and is home to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) - I know the value each pub brings to its community.

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It represents a place to reconnect with old mates, a social hub to meet new friends, a refuge from the hassles of life, and a lifeline for the isolated.

I expect pioneering Black actor and Hampstead icon Louis Mahoney knew that, as a well-loved patron of The Wells Tavern on Well Walk. He passed away on June 29 at 81 and will be missed.

I hope all the pubs make it through this difficult time and we, as customers, should be understanding and cooperative of the new rules they are operating under to support them. Good luck - and see you in the beer garden.