Pub and bar bosses have said they expect July 4 to be a “historic day” as they near welcoming drinkers again after closing their doors for more than three months.
Thousands of pubs are expected to reopen their doors across England, as business owners hope to bounce back after the “most challenging time ever” for the sector.
Clive Watson, founder of the London-based City Pub Group, told the PA news agency: “I’m so excited to see customers back in the pubs. We are all expecting it to be a historic day for the industry.
“It’s been incredibly tough, for us, and for our customers too, so we hope this can provide a much-needed boost.”
However, he said that around 10 of the pub group’s city centre pubs face a slightly longer wait before reopening to customers as their locations and dimensions provide “a challenge”.
Mr Watson also stressed that it is vital that pubs and other businesses reopening at the weekend meet safety requirements to help ensure they do not face further lockdown restrictions again in the future.
“But we are aware of our responsibility,” he said. “What’s happening in Leicester highlights how important it is that operators, of all businesses, don’t let their eye of the ball.
“We have to prioritise safety to ensure that we don’t see lockdowns again, because the effects would be disastrous.”
Revolution Bars said it will take a more phased approach to reopening, opening just six of its venues of Monday July 6 ahead of swinging open the doors to the rest of its bar estate.
Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “The safety of our guests and teams is our top priority and we have been working hard behind the scenes over the last few months to find ways to be able to get the party started again in the safest way possible.
“By taking a phased approach to opening our venues, the improvements we’ve made to the bookings platform on our brands’ websites, and with our team members trained to the highest standard of safe operating procedures, we can ensure our guests and teams are as safe as possible.”
John Crooks, owner of The Boar’s Head in Draycott-in-the-Clay and The Lion Hotel in Belper, said: “This is the most challenging time our business has faced but we know we’re not alone.
“Pubs, restaurants and hotels across the region are feeling the same effects that we are and planning for the future is particularly difficult given the uncertainty surrounding when we’ll be able to open our doors again.”
Mr Crooks said the business is optimistic after it secured a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from Lloyds Bank to keep it afloat while its doors were shut.