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When will pubs reopen in the UK? Latest government updates

Emily Lawford, Kit Heren

UK pubs may be allowed to partially open this summer as the Government relaxes coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants have been closed in Britain since March 20.

Environment secretary George Eustice has said that outdoor areas and pubs with beer gardens will be the first sites permitted to reopen.

He said on May 29 that such facilities will only open their outdoor areas from July at the earliest.

So what's the plan?

Coronavirus infection rates are believed to be lower in outside spaces, and Mr Eustice signalled that venues with gardens would be the first to reopen as a result.

He told Sky News: “The sectors that are going to have the greatest challenge getting back to work, which we recognise, and I’m sure the Chancellor recognises this too – the hospitality sector and some of those other ticketed venues, in particular cinemas and in particular theatres, restaurants and pubs, will also face a challenge getting back into operation.

“And that is why we won’t be loosening the restrictions on them until at least July and even then it is likely that in the case of pubs and restaurants it will begin with beer gardens and outdoor areas only.”

It is not yet clear when pubs without open areas will be permitted to reopen.

Government officials have previously suggested the UK’s more than 48,000 pubs would not reopen for many months.

Wetherspoons has said it is planning to open its 874 pubs across the UK and Ireland on July 4, subject to approval from the Government.

What measures will landlords take to keep customers safe?

Pubs will need to be regularly cleaned, and there could be limits on the number of people allowed inside at a time.

Staff working hours will likely be staggered, and hand washing kits will be added at exits and entrances.

Some pub chains, such as Greene King, plan to reopen gardens with customers ordering their drinks by phone to avoid long queues.

Some chains such as Wetherspoons already allow customers to use apps to order drinks and food – and this practice may increase as pubs re-open.

Tourism Alliance Director Kurt Janson told the Sun that pubs could open up large beer gardens on high streets and farmlands to help social distancing.

The Financial Times reported in mid-May that British pub operators have asked for social distancing rules to be halved from two metres to one in talks with government on reopening, concerned that otherwise many would have to close.

BWetherspoons boss Tim Martin (PA Wire/PA Images)

How will Wetherspoons manage the reopening?

Wetherspoons, Britain's largest pub chain with around nine per cent of the market, has revealed strict social distancing and cleaning measures for when its pubs can reopen.

The company has said it will encourage people to pay by its app and sit outside. Tables inside will be separated by screens.

Customers will otherwise queue in a one-way system with social distancing measures in place.

Each pub will have at least two workers cleaning tables and frequent touch points regularly, Wetherspoons said. Hand sanitisers will also be installed in each pub.

Employees will be given masks, gloves and goggles.