What to expect from pubs and cafes during the pandemic

As Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease up around the U.K., a limited number of pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes are looking to serve customers by August. Regulated to outdoor dining and self-catering accommodation, independent businesses are expected to function at a turnover of 25% of pre-lockdown levels. Thus, only half of British establishments are presumed to reopen. Whether you run a business of your own or are looking to patronise some of your favourite dining experiences once again, here’s what you can expect in the coming months. 

New Restrictions and Exceptions

Along with hairdressers and other hospitality establishments, the best restaurants in London are now entitled to reopen a majority of their branches, although not all. Some F&B businesses are catering only to takeaway options, whereas others are gearing up for full-service with social distancing measures in place. While some continue to adhere to 2-meter distances, others are vying to close the gap between customers by a full 1 meter. 

Business owners are prioritising reopening pubs with an outdoor seating area, given that the weather is ideal, from 12:00 to 20:00 on a daily basis, sometimes excluding weekends. To ensure that customers adhere to new rules, it’s up to staff to shoulder this responsibility, which has put immense pressure on some. 

The Risks of Reopening

With the majority of restaurant trades being chalked up to tourists, some business owners are spending as much as GBP30,000 to reopen. From purchasing outdoor bars to ensuring strict safety measures, it’ll take a lot for even the most popular pubs and bars to stay afloat. Not every pub and restaurant expects to make a profit but is prioritising serving antsy guests and finding ways to continue supporting their staff. 

In this case, rural establishments have the upper hand over cramped city spaces. Thanks to an abundance of outdoor space, country pubs are expecting high levels of business. On the other hand, most city pubs lack a beer garden, making it unrealistic for most to open their doors once more. However, many coast and seaside resorts are expecting good business due to the availability of outdoor seating. This, of course, will also depend on how the weather lets up in the coming months. 

Who is Gearing Up Once Again?

Of the 104 SA Brains-owned pubs under the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective, only 40 tenanted establishments may reopen. Similarly, brewery giants Wetherspoons and Mitchells and Butlers don’t expect to open any of the 50 pubs owned in Wales. The Ei Group, on the other hand, is looking forward to reopening 64 branches across the country. 


As brew houses and kitchens prepare to reopen during the fall of the pandemic, it’s still more important than ever to be cautious of the places you visit. Prioritise locations that adhere to strict protocols by remaining updated online and in the news. 

To remain informed about progressions within the F&B industry, read up on the latest on Catering Today! We keep you in the loop about new restaurants in London and which locations are safest to visit. 

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