FROM this weekend you'll be able to get a pint at your local, or sit down for a meal in a restaurant as lockdown restrictions are eased in the North-East.

Beginning on Saturday, July 4, pubs, restaurants and cafés will be allowed to reopen to the public following three months of coronavirus lockdown.

But going to such places will look quite different - as a whole raft of rules have been published ahead of the all important date.

To comply with social distancing measures, which have become all too familiar, food and drink establishments will need to follow strict new guidance.

It follows on from the reopening of 'non-essential' shops including clothing, fashion and electrical last month. 

Ahead of publication of such guidance, chains including Greene King and Wetherspoon published how they intended to keep customers safe.

Using perspex screens, hand sanitising stations and employing a one-way system were among the drastic new changes.

But here are the main rules for pubs, restaurants and cafés will need to follow from this weekend.

No 'loitering' at the bar

Pubs and restaurants have been told that customers cannot remain at the bar or counter area after ordering.

This bans anyone from drinking, even if on their own, while at the bar and staff should 'prevent' customers from doing so. 

No gatherings allowed

Under the new rules indoor gatherings should only occur with one other household - so two households in total (including support bubbles.)

This will be limited to a group of at most six people from any number of households while inside pub, cafe and restaurant venues.

You'll have to give your name and phone number

Upon arrival to such a venue, you'll be asked for your contact details including name and address.

This is to allow the NHS Test and Trace team identify who may have been in contact with someone who later tests positive for Covid-19.

Venues will need to keep this information for 21 days and should keep this securely stored.

No live performances, showing football matches or loud talking

Pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to host any live performances, including drama, comedy and live music.

It will also be discouraged from playing loud music, so that customers can easily hear one another, to avoid shouting.

The guidance says: "This is important to mitigate the risks of aerosol transmission - from either the performer(s) or their audience."

It adds: "Preventing entertainment, such as broadcasts, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours increasing transmission risk.

"For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting."

Supermarket-style queuing

At some venues you can expect to queue like you would in supermarkets - the guidance says venues should make use of outdoor spaces.

Queues will have to adhere to social distancing measures.

It says: "Reducing the need for customers to queue, but where this is unavoidable, discouraging customers from queuing indoors and using outside spaces for queuing where available and safe."

Contactless ordering and table service

Food and drink venues will be encouraged to use contactless ordering from tables, where available. For example, through an ordering app.

The guidance also states that table service must be used, but again where that's possible.

It says: "Indoor table service must be used where possible, alongside further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table.

"Outdoor table service should also be encouraged, although customers are permitted to stand outside if distanced appropriately."


Pubs, cafes and restaurants will have to keep facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.