Britain’s response to COVID-19 has had impacts throughout society, but there is no doubt that our pubs have shouldered more than their part of the burden. Repeated lockdowns, public health scares, and a general sense of uncertainty have put our public houses at risk. Communities have been without a steady gathering place for almost a year. It’s time to take a look at how pubs fared during lockdowns, as well as learn how any pub can level up and reopen to huge success.

The Current State Of Pubs

Pubs and the UK’s broader hospitality industry suffered unfairly during 2020. While public health is a vital concern, pubs faced strong restrictions that were out of line with reopening guidelines for shops and similar establishments in other industries. Transmission risks at pubs were not higher than at other non-essential organisations, yet pubs faced stricter rules. Publicans and breweries struggled to stay atop these changing requirements.

These restrictions caused a ripple effect throughout the UK. Pubs are a major source of economic and social activity. Almost 900,000 people are employed by pubs across the UK, which accounts for £12.1bn of wages, and £23.4bn of GVA.

As pubs struggled, so did the rest of society. Nearly one in twenty people had been employed in a pub, inn, or other food and drink establishment before COVID-19 struck. Pub workers accounted for a huge swath of society. When these workers were forced home due to lockdowns, their hardship spread throughout other sectors.

Many pubs tried to pivot and remain on their feet throughout the new restrictions. By offering takeaway services, streaming live music, and providing socially distanced options when possible, pubs showed creativity during 2020. However, these different service models are no substitute for the traditional experience of gathering as a community.

Beyond the monetary concerns, pubs are an important thread of our social fabric. Inns and public houses form the heart of communities throughout the UK. Particularly in rural areas, a pub ties its town together. A pub’s community forms a special and irreplaceable bond. We need this social cohesion as we recover from COVID-19.

The worldwide pandemic response has been rightfully focused on helping the most vulnerable people first. Governments have also prioritised funding for industries such as medical research and manufacturing to aid in our recovery. It’s time to apply that same philosophy towards the economy as well.

Pubs are uniquely able to drive our economy as well as our society. It’s now safe, possible, and necessary to reopen our pubs.

Every pub can level up and offer new, refreshed services as they reopen. This is a valuable opportunity to examine menus, offerings, specials, and more. Pubs should take this chance to secure their place as the heart of their town.

To learn more about the current state of UK pubs as well as how we can plan for the future, download The Power Of Pubs by Localis. This free report takes a deep dive into the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on pubs across the UK. You can explore both positive and negative results of restrictions, lockdowns, and promotional campaigns on inns throughout Britain. The report also offers valuable recommendations on reopening pubs, revitalising the economy, and reconnecting our communities. Click here to download your free copy.

5 Key Resources To Re-open Your Pub With Success and Safety

As the UK moves towards life after COVID-19, there are many resources to help you successfully reopen your pub. Explore these articles and guides to find tips and tricks to make reopening a massive success.

12 Step Roadmap to Building Back Better, by the British Institute of Innkeeping

link to 12 step roadmap

The BII has laid out 12 steps to help you reopen. They encourage all inns and pubs to take a careful, serious examination of their current prospects. Your service model, promotions, and staffing from 2019 might not be the best fit for your needs today. Ask the hard questions and take an honest look at your business to set yourself up for recovery.

Reopening Checklist For Food Businesses During COVID-19, by the Food Standards Agency

Whether your pub has been fully closed, or you’ve transitioned to a takeaway model, reopening is a big step. Prepare for new restrictions and guidelines by learning how to safely reopen a food and drink business. This checklist walks you through current restrictions as well as plans to check your site, equipment, ingredients, and social distancing operations.

Countdown To Re-Opening, by Cask Marque

reopening pub countdown

Get back to speed on all aspects of draught beer with a detailed checklist by Cask Marque. This guide plots out actions beginning a month before you re-open. Follow the steps and you’ll easily re-engage your suppliers, staff, and regulars in time to open your doors again. Cask Marque provides a reason for each action so you know why each step is important.

Guidance On Reopening, by Music Venue Trust

Live, local music is a mainstay of many pubs. Learn how to welcome your favourite performers back on stage with this reopening guide, which covers both streaming and live performances

Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19): Restaurants Offering Takeaway Or Delivery, by GOV.UK

This comprehensive guide explains how to keep your staff and community safe under COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Turn to this resource to learn how to protect your pub workers and regulars as you resume service.

Level Up Your Pub

COVID-19 has been a struggle for everyone, and it’s time to start recovering. We must protect and encourage pubs as one of the foundations of UK society. Take your pub’s reopening as an opportunity to refresh your services. Your pub and your community will be thriving again in no time.