Coronavirus: don’t plan venue changes too soon

pouring a pint

OPERATORS have been cautioned against planning extensive changes to their venues before government requirements for reopening are confirmed.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (May 21) unveiled a ‘route map’ for easing lockdown conditions across Scotland, with pub beer gardens likely to be reopened in the second ‘phase’ and pub interiors in the third.

However, the Scottish Government has yet to lay out the exact rules pubs will have to abide by in order to operate, including the level of social distancing that will be required in venues.

In an open letter to the pub sector signed jointly by the British Institute of Inkeeping (BII), British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA); and UK Hospitality, business owners are warned not to plan around the current, two-metre social distancing requirements until this is actually confirmed by government.

The letter said: “The exact mandatory requirements and guidance from government are expected to be produced within the next couple of weeks and will be subject to a period of consultation.

“We understand that many of you are already planning changes to your businesses, based upon specific distancing expectations in line with current government guidelines.

“We believe these are still under review and would caution against longer term and costly changes to pub environments at this time that may be unnecessary if areas such as distancing measures changed within the consultation period.”

BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin, has warned that enforcing two-metre social distancing in pubs would “present significant challenges for pubs”.

“We would urge both the Scottish and UK governments to strongly investigate moving to one metre distancing, as endorsed by the World Health Organisation,” said McClarkin.