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Do I need to book before going to the pub?

LIFE in England will change after so-called “freedom day” when most of the legal coronavirus restrictions end on July 19.

Here’s what is happening in our pubs…

If you want to book a table then it's worth checking directly with the pub


If you want to book a table then it’s worth checking directly with the pubCredit: Alamy

Do I need to book a table at a pub after July 19?

People in England can order from the bar again and ditch checking in at the local boozer from July 19 as Covid rules finally lift.

Table service only rules will be axed, which means pubs will be able to serve customers at the bar again.

While currently most pubs take bookings, it’ll be up to individual venues as to whether they want this to continue.

So if you do want to book a table, it’s worth checking directly with the pub.

Some boozers do hold back tables for walk-ins.

What are the rules for pubs now?

Until July 19, you’ll still have to stick to the rules in place when visiting your local pub.

These include groups of up to six people can meet up inside pubs, bars and restaurants.

Groups of up to 30 people can now drink together outside, though this may be limited by capacity at some locations.

You also have to stay at your table to get food or drink.

At venues which don’t serve alcohol, customers can order and pick up food or drinks (non-alcoholic) from a counter, but it must be eaten while seated.

Many pubs have put contactless ordering systems in place, such as using apps and QR codes for menus and ordering to reduce contact between customers and staff.


Staff have to wear PPE such as face masks and gloves when they are providing service.

Customers have to wear face masks when they are inside, for example when going to the toilet.

You can take it off when you are sat down at your table though.

This applies to everyone apart from those who are exempt – for example, if you have a disability or illness that makes you less able to wear one.

Every pub-goer must now also check in with the NHS Covid app to get a pint.

This also means that pub-goers will be told to book a test immediately if they sit near Covid drinker in a pub.

Social distancing remains in place in pubs, bars and restaurants with signage in place to remind customers.

What are the rules for pubs after July 19?

Table service only rules will be axed, which means pubs will be able to serve customers at the bar again.

Plus, you won’t have to check into venues by scanning a QR code using the Test and Trace app.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed today, July 12, that Covid rules such as mask-wearing and social distancing can end on so-called Freedom Day.

Mask-wearing will be made voluntary from July 19, meaning punters may not have to wear face coverings when inside a pub and not at their table.

However, Brits visiting larger pubs and venues might still have to don masks.

Mr Javid said businesses will be “encouraged” to ask customers for Covid passports for large events.

The minister also said that people should continue to wear masks in some indoors settings after the next stage of the Government’s road map for reopening commences on July 19.

He told the Commons that face coverings were still “recommended” in crowded indoor areas even after legal guidance on their use expires.

Mr Javid said: “As we make these changes, it is so important that people act with caution and with personal responsibility.

“For example, everyone should return to work gradually if they are currently working from home; they should try to meet people outside where possible.

“It is expected and recommended that people should wear face coverings, unless they are exempt, in crowded indoor settings.”

As he made the announcement, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth remarked from the Labour benches that it was a “U-turn”.

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