What are the new pubs rules and times for opening this weekend after COVID 19?

Officials are already warning the public to "look after yourself"
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  • Here's what to expect when it comes to the new rules and guidelines pub swill need to adhere to when they open on July 4th, which has been dubbed as 'Super Saturday'.

    Pubs, restaurants and shops have been closed since 23rd March – but since the middle of June, these venues have been gradually reopening following the coronavirus pandemic.

    ‘Super Saturday’ is the day the pubs reopen across England – Saturday 4th July. However, they will not reopen in Leicester, with a local lockdown in place there right now.

    This coming Saturday signals the first time that that pubs, bars and restaurants, are permitted to open again in over three months. They were closed in late March, in order to help slow the spread of the virus.

    What are the new pubs rules for opening after COVID 19?

    After three long months, you’re probably curious about what a visit to your local will be like – whether you return this weekend, later this month, or later this summer.

    In order to be allowed to reopen, pubs and similar places have had to become ‘Covid-secure’, and ensure they are able to reopen whilst following hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

    So what will it be like when we’re ordering our next glass of wine?

    These are the rules for pubs reopening:

    • only two households can meet at a pub at the same time, with a six-people group limit – although many venues have limits to the amount of people they will seat for one group, so check beforehand
    • social distancing is required between customers and staff
    • pubs (and restaurants) will need to limit the amount of people allowed in at once – many have done so by insisting on bookings before you visit
    • payment will now likely be taken via a mobile app for many pubs – some are only permitting table service
    • drinking at the bar is banned
    • regular cleaning will take place
    • one-way systems, hand sanitiser stations, and socially distanced tables will likely be the norm now
    • visitors will need to give their name and contact details to the pub, in order to track and trace any local outbreaks of the virus. These can be kept on file for 21 days.
    • pubs are urged to use a one-in-one-out system for toilets
    • live performances are not allowed
    • music should be low enough to allow people to use normal speaking voices – rather than shouting
    • it will be illegal to gather in groups bigger than 30

    What times are pubs allowed to stay open?

    From 4th July, pubs will be permitted to reopen as normal – meaning they can stay open as late as was normal for them pre-Covid.

    And, Downing Street has just announced that pubs in England will be allowed to open from 6am tomorrow.

    They have stated that the rule has been set up in order to prevent pubs from trying to immediately reopen at midnight tonight.

    But, the times that pubs will stay open across England will likely vary depending on each business. If you are visiting your local on Saturday, it is advisable to check their specific website to see if they have revised opening hours.

    Some pubs have chosen not to reopen tomorrow, with many fearing that they would be too busy for it to be safe to reopen on 4th July.

    Heather Griffin, manager of Sheffield’s Rutland Arms pub, told The Independent that she will not reopen for at least another week. She explained, “People haven’t been to the pub for three months and now they’re finally getting to go after all that time. It’s not hard to imagine what that might end up being like.”

    However, one of Britain’s biggest pub chains Wetherspoons will be reopening all of their venues across England this Saturday.

    Police concerns about ‘Super Saturday’

    However, some officials have voiced concerns over the predicted rush back to drinking holes this coming weekend, with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick urging customers visiting their local on Saturday to be ‘calm and sensible’.

    She explained that the police force have been preparing for this day ‘for some time’ and had ‘extra resources in place’.

    On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme while she urged that she was not “predicting” violence, she did say that there would be a lot more officers on the steets over the weekend. Cressida warned, “My message is, if you’re coming out on Saturday, be calm, be sensible.

    “Look after yourself, look after your family. We are still in a global pandemic which is affecting this country very obviously.”

    Cressida Dick

    Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

    Some have criticised the government’s decision to reopen pubs and bars on a Saturday, as opposed to a quieter day of the week – with Tim Clarke, from the Metropolitan Police Federation, saying that this weekend could well be as busy as New Year’s Eve for the police.

    Chair of the National Police Federation John Apter, appearing on Good Morning Britain this morning also said, “I do have real concerns about 4th July, because of the way that’s been built up almost as a time to party” – whilst expressing concerns for the safety of his police colleagues.

    And it’s not only the police force who are preparing for the worst on Super Saturday.

    Metro.co.uk reports that hospitals have been told to prepare for ‘New Years Eve’- like A&E admissions. Of course, New Year’s Eve is infamous for people with drunken injuries and alcohol poisoning patients inundating hospitals across the country – and it appears there are fears that similar may happen here over this weekend.

    Jonathan Treml, a doctor in the NHS, confirmed the news on Twitter explaining, “Last Friday, NHS England wrote to all hospital Chief Operating Officers to advise them to plan capacity for “New Year’s Eve” levels of activity when pubs open on July 4th.

    He also said that he “hoped that raising the issue may make a few people reconsider their plans for this weekend.”

    Of course, there is also the still very real threat of the coronavirus itself, with concerns that reopening may cause a spike in cases in the future, as a Covid-19 vaccine has yet to be fully developed.

    MORE: The 36+ cities, towns and counties in the UK at risk of facing a localised lockdown

    what is super saturday

    Credit: Getty Images

    Boris Johnson has also warned the public against ‘overdoing it’ on Saturday.

    His spokesperson explained, “We do want people to be able to enjoy themselves but at the same time, now we have got coronavirus under control we need to keep it under control.

    “The guidance is there, we want people to follow it and then we can make more progress together in the fight against coronavirus. The PM has said that it is important that people don’t overdo it.”

    When do beer gardens open in Scotland?

    Other parts of the UK are opening their drinking and eating venues on different days to England. In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants only will reopen from 6th July, a Monday, while indoor areas will open up again for use on 15th July.

    When are pubs opening in Wales?

    It has been announced that in Wales, pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants will be able to reopen outdoors from Monday 13th July, as long as coronavirus cases continue to drop. However, indoor services should remain closed in Wales for now.

    It has been said that ministers in Wales will consider indoor reopening later on, depending on the success of the outdoor reopening’s on the 13th.

    And in Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants can reopen from Friday 3rd July.

    And of course, due to the Leicester lockdown, pubs in the area will not be reopening for the foreseeable future.

    Where does the phrase ‘Super Saturday’ comes from?

    Days are often nicknamed as ‘Super Saturday’ to indicate a huge surge in demand for something – on this date, it’s the flocking back to pubs after their extended closure.

    It indicates a day when many people will be using or doing one certain thing, or celebrating a certain significant national moment.

    And in fact, while this is Super Saturday 2020, there was also a Super Saturday 2012. Super Saturday 2012 was on 4 August, 2012. It was the middle Saturday during the London Olympics, and the day that Great Britain won six gold medals – three in the space of just an hour. As such, it was a cause for national celebration.

    In America, Super Saturday is often the term used by retailers to refer to the last Saturday before Christmas, too.

    But when it comes to Super Saturday 2020, there are worries that any jubilant celebrations may cause some worrying ripple effects.