Visiting the pub

What is happening

Britain’s beer and pub industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic and faces a more challenging time than it has ever experienced in the past.

Publicans, pubs, and pub chains have worked with the Government over the last few months to find the safest way to open and start serving local communities again. We know it isn’t quite the same, but the important bits are.

Here are a few things you might find a little different.

  • Table service only indoors
  • Providing contact details on arrival
  • Fewer people in the pub
  • Minimised contact (contactless ordering & paying)
  • One-way systems (floor markings & signs)
  • Different opening hours

Here are a few things you’ll find exactly the same.

  • Friendly staff
  • A freshly poured pint
  • Delicious pub food
  • Great pub chat
  • Sunny beer garden (where standing is allowed)

There are also a few things going on behind the scenes.

  • Staff will be screened before returning to work and only come to work if they are well
  • New, heightened hygiene standards including hand washing on arrival and at regular intervals plus regular deep cleaning of all surfaces
  • Fewer staff on each shift with little or no crossover

It’s great to be open and serving beer again. We’ve done everything we can to make sure our customers and staff are safe, and whilst it’s clearly quite different, we’re doing our best to make it just as great as ever.

Are, Publican at the Chandos Arms

Guidelines for pubs

Every pub is different, and each pub owner will assess their premises and decide what’s best to ensure customers and staff are safe.

Rest assured, if your pub is open, it’s safe for it to do so.

Here are a few of the recommended safety procedures that your pub may be implementing to ensure social distancing is both possible and practised.

Groups seated indoors at one table will need to be from a maximum of two households. In outdoor areas, groups of up to six people can meet from any number of households.

Some pubs will implement table service for customers inside the pub. This allows clear social distancing, reduces the number of people in the pub, and allows for reduced contact with staff. It may be that you need to pre-book a table to ensure the pub can seat you. Standing will be allowed in outside areas.

All pubs are expected to collect contact details of their customers. It is currently up to the publican to decide how this information is collected.

In order to enable people to get around the pub safely, your publican may put a one-way system in place.

Your pub may look to reduce contact with staff as much as possible, and so may be using a contactless ordering and payment system. They may also deliver in new ways, for example to a vacant table for you to collect from. Where contactless ordering isn’t possible, you may find screens at the bar to protect staff.

Toilets are often the most restricted for space, so special rules may need to be in place for their use (for example, one in, one out). Clear guidance on these will be in place

Every pub will be different, but every pub will make it clear what their changes and rules are. It’s not just about keeping you safe, it’s about keeping pub staff safe too.

Your Pub

Every pub is unique, which means they will have different rules in place to keep their customers and staff safe. Here are our four top tips to make sure you, and your pub, have a great visit.

  1. Speak to your local publican to find out what measures are in place and opening times before you visit
  2. Pre-book if you can, and consider going at more unusual times to spread out visits
  3. Respect pub staff and remember that the rules are there to protect you and them
  4. Become a regular, pubs need your support now and across the summer in order to recover

If your local pub is part of a bigger company, they may have outlined their safety measures online already. We have collected links to these pages and to view below. We’ll keep this list updated as more pub companies announce what they’re doing.


We are confident that by introducing extra measures in our pubs, led by the Government guidelines, we will ensure the safety of our guests and teams, while delivering the same great pub experience. We can guarantee our usual warm welcome, delicious food, fresh draught beer and comfortable rooms. We know for so many people, pubs play a key role in bringing communities together.

Kevin, Chief Executive at St Austell