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Pubs will use apps for drink orders and be patrolled to maintain social distancing under new coronavirus rules

·3-min read
Two women walk out of The Old Vine pub with their takeaway beer in Winchester, southern England on June 7, 2020. - The UK government said Sunday it will reopen places of worship for individual prayer on June 15 as it reportedly looks to speed up easing measures in order to save jobs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said services and worship groups will still be banned for the time being due to concern that the new coronavirus spreads more quickly in enclosed spaces. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Two women walk out of The Old Vine pub with their takeaway beer in Winchester, southern England (Picture: Getty)

Drinkers will be encouraged to order pints on smartphone apps and pubs could be patrolled to ensure social-distancing under plans to ease the lockdown for the hospitality sector.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement next week on the reopening of pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels in England on 4 July.

With the coronavirus alert level having been reduced on Friday, Johnson believes he has some space to relax measures, including the two-metre social distancing rule, in a boost for the sector and the economy.

Guidance drawn up by the hospitality industry and ministers is understood to encourage pubgoers to order drinks using apps instead of going to the bar, while current legislation was said to include the powers for patrols.

The Times newspaper reports the PM will also implement other measures in pubs and restaurants, including tables not being set in advance and single-use menus.

A woman wearing a protective face mask passes a boarded up pub painted with a 'stay strong' mural, in central London, as further coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Pubs have been closed since March (Picture: Getty)

In hotels, visitors will be encouraged to use room service instead of visit in-house restaurants and guest bags will be left outside their rooms by porters, according to the report.

In gyms exercise equipment will be spaced out and members may have to book timeslots to ensure they do not become overcrowded.

The Times adds full protective gear will be required for physiotherapists, masseurs, pedicurists and manicurists.

The UK Hospitality trade body chief executive Kate Nicholls told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the plan was for individual businesses to draw up a programme to keep their team and guests safe.

“As the guidelines cover from a burger van in a park right the way through to the Fat Duck in Bray you need to have something that takes account everything in between rather than a one-size-fits-all,” she said.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/08: Interior view of The Westbury pub in north London.  Pubs have been closed in the UK since March following the outbreak of COVID-19 and predicted to reopen on 22 June. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pubs have been empty for months (Picture: Getty)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Radio 4 the review the PM ordered into the two-metre social distancing rule for England would be concluded “within the coming days”, while Whitehall officials confirmed the outcome is expected next week.

The rule seeks to slow the spread of coronavirus but would be a heavy restraint on the hospitality sector when it reopens, with many bosses favouring the distance being reduced.

One expert informing the government’s response to the pandemic as part of the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) said he had revised his opposition to reducing the two-metre rule now transmission is low.

The University of Liverpool’s Professor Calum Semple told Today: “I’m still saying two metres is safer than one but it, in my opinion, it is now a reasonable political decision to relax these rules.”

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