PUB landlords across the city are excited to re-open this weekend – but they are warning customers to expect a very different experience due to the ‘Covid secure’ measures they’ve put in place.

From tomorrow, pubs can once again welcome customers after being shut since late March, but there will be strict rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Worcester News:

Nick Gjoliku, of the Eagle Vaults in Friar Street, said: “We have a one-way system in place, customers will enter through one door and leave through another, there are signs and arrows to guide them. The bar will also not be operating as usual. Drinks can be ordered one end and collected the other. We will also have to keep an eye on the amount of people in the pub at one time.

“We are not taking bookings, we are allowing people to just turn up – it will be first come, first served and we will be taking the names and contact details of everyone.

Worcester News:

“We are expecting it to be a good turn out. People are desperate to get out and socialise - the pub, for many, is a big part of their life.”

The Swan and Drummonds in New Street are also preparing for a busy weekend.

General manager Kirsty Smith said: “We have merged the two businesses in order to accommodate more people. We expect it to be very busy and have worked out we can have capacity of 200 but we will only be allowing 110 customers in at a time as we believe that is a safer number.

Worcester News:

“Everybody will be seated when they arrive and table service will be provided. The bar is not going to be open so there are less people wandering around. We have signage up to guide people and the toilets will be one in and one out.

“We will have three members of staff on the floor and one cleaning surfaces constantly to keep everything as clean as possible.

“People do not have to book, but they can if they want. We already have plenty of tables booked for Saturday evening, but we are taking walk-ins.

“I think people will find it strange at first, it is definitely not going to be the Drummonds they are used to, but we hope to create a space where people can still have fun whilst staying safe.”

Worcester News:

The Barn Owl in Warndon is also welcoming customers back tomorrow, but people must make bookings before turning up. Kitchen manager Phil Smith said: “We are very excited to welcome our customers back. We have lots of safety measures in place such as a one way system and social distancing stickers on the floor.

“The bar will not be open and we will be offering table service only. We have one area in the pub where people may be forced to cross over one another so we have sectioned this off with tape. The idea is only one person in the taped off section at a time.

Worcester News:

“We are only taking bookings at this moment in time so we can control how many people are in the building at one time – customers can book two hour slots so we can see as many people as possible throughout the day.”

Not all pubs in Worcester will be opening this weekend. Nigel Smith of the Cardinal’s Hat in Friar Street said: “We have been advised to do a quiet, staggered opening mid to late week. We are very small in size and have residential streets behind us who will have been used to almost silence during lockdown. It is important to us we have a staged re-opening to allow them to readjust and, first and foremost, the safety of our staff and customers is paramount.

Worcester News:

“When we do re-open, the bar area will be closed and a table service will be provided. We will have to cut down the amount of people we allow into the pub by at least 50 per cent to ensure social distancing is possible.

“It will be a strange feeling, not something we are used to. Pubs are known as being loud and crowded so these new measures will be a shock to some. I am sure our customers will adapt, as everyone has had to during lockdown, and we can still provide a safe and fun environment for them.”

Worcester News:

Greene King pubs will also be making a staggered return as part of their pub safe scheme. Worcester pubs under the Greene King brewery include Ye Olde Talbot in Friar Street, The Talbot in Barbourne Road and The Glovers Needle in Warndon.

Government guidance states that, for pubs and restaurants to become Covid-19 secure, they should:

  • require use of table service where possible instead of ordering at the bar and assigning a single staff member per table
  • encourage use of contactless ordering from tables where available, such as through an app
  • discourage non-essential trips by staff within venues, such as between the kitchen and front of house, by using radios and other electronic devices to communicate
  • encourage customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the venue
  • provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene as people arrive on the premises, with signage and visual aids

However the government website says each business will need to translate this guidance into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the size and type of business. They will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they continue to protect customers and workers.