How not to be the worst person in the pub once they reopen

Boris Johnson confirmed today that pubs in England would be allowed to reopen as of July 4.

We’ll be subject to ‘one metre plus’ social distancing guidelines, spaces indoors will likely be limited, and other measures like extra cleaning and sanitation may also be in place.

These things we can all deal with. After all, we’ve been careful for a fair few months now. More important for us seasoned pub-goers, though, is something I like to call ‘Christmas syndrome’.

Every year a few weeks before Christmas, members of the public who had no interest in beer gardens and pints for the previous 11.5 months descend onto pubs.

They can’t handle their drink, they walk in front of the TV while the football’s on, and they order a Guinness right at the end, holding up the queue.

This is what we can expect to face come pubs reopening, as those people who never frequented the pub pre-lockdown suddenly decide that they absolutely must be there for the first day back.

To help you avoid being one of these people and hearing ‘get outta my pub’ before you hear ‘time gentlemen, please’, we’ve compiled a few tips. Check yourself before you wreck yourself (and ruin it for the rest of us).

Don’t go on the first day

Obviously someone has to go on the first day, otherwise what’s the point.

But what say the rest of us leave this hallowed reopening for the proper regulars; the old boys who get together to play dominos, the sweet local ladies with the dirty laughs and Bacardi and cokes.

For some, the pub isn’t just somewhere to get pissed and play ring of fire, but the main social hub they have (without digital means to keep in touch with people they know).

They might not have seen their mates in a long time, and we should let them have their space instead of steaming in just for the sake of it and making it so crowded they won’t have room for a catch-up.

Avoid busy times

The atmosphere of a Friday or Saturday sesh is not going to be the same for some time, so there’s really no need to reserve yourself for these days of the week.

Staff will be under enough pressure to turn away people if they’re at capacity, so try not to make it worse.

Nowt wrong with a Monday or Tuesday pint.

Remember the staff

You’re there on your jollies, staff have to be in the pub to make their rent.

Hopefully, you should be the type of person that is already kind and respectful to service employees, but this isn’t just a matter of paying your tab and not kicking off in a drunken stupor.

Give them room and time to do their stuff, don’t expect them to be all smiles, and try not to bend their ear too much with stories.

It’s likely they’re very busy and stressed, so cut them some slack and save the smalltalk for when it calms down.

Bring your own masks and sanitiser

Venues will probably be giving out supplies so you can enjoy a drink safely, but it makes things smoother if you come prepared.

This is all part of making sure staff and other punters are safe, and it’ll be well-received if you’re showing that you’re actively trying.

Don’t get too drunk

Whatever you do, do not get so wasted that someone has to touch you to hold you up or add to their already-huge list of worries trying to make sure you get home okay.

Again, you should ideally be avoiding this anyway, but a heady mix of sunshine and three months without a draught pint can do strange things to someone.

Eat before you go out, drink water, and don’t go overboard by ordering multiple drinks and downing them all in blind excitement.

Stay at your table and keep orders simple

The rules for reopening mean that standing at the bar will be banned and it’s table service only.

Same rules apply as usual regarding ordering – get your round down first so you can order quickly, and keep things simple.

While there might be some places happy to make you a bespoke cocktail for the occasion, for the most part, you’re only holding everything up and making service go slower.

Don’t overstay your welcome

‘One more pint’ is not going to be an acceptable excuse for the next few months, as pubs might have to allocate time slots so that more customers are able to be served.

If you know you’re supposed to leave at a certain time, do. And if you don’t have an allocated time slot but are no longer buying drinks, spare a thought for the business and free up your seat.

Please leave your kids at home

Kids don’t generally want to be at the pub, as a result normally running around and doing bored-kid-things.

Some people find this annoying regardless, but it will be even worse with the threat of coronavirus in the air.

Bar staff will need to run around after your kids, other punters may be worried if children aren’t social distancing, and they could potentially spread the virus if they’re not staying in the same place and/or are touching everything around them.

By all means take your little ones out to parks and to see family as the rules allow, but try to think whether the pub is the best place for them right now (even if they are officially ‘allowed’).

Don’t make a joke out of people’s sacrifices

The fact that you’re in the pub is a privilege in itself, so please don’t take this opportunity and make a mockery of the sacrifices people have made so far.

We’ve ‘earned’ the right to ease social distancing measures by following the rules, so hugging your pals (however tempting) or getting close to others is a slap in the face for those who aren’t quite there yet.

It’s dangerous and rude to think you’re above the rules, so please be aware of how you might be abusing the trust being placed in you by shielding or vulnerable individuals to go out and about safely.

Have fun, but don’t overdo it and end up making it worse for the rest of us. In times of trouble always ask: What would Peggy Mitchell do?

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