By now, a lot of us are dreaming of dancing on sticky floors, downing shots or sitting around a crowded table full of pints or conversing over cocktails with friends. Lockdown has seemed never-ending, and there's no doubt the hospitality sector has been hit hard, but the new roadmap on the way out of it has offered some hope for those of us itching to get back to the pubs when they reopen.

When Will Bars and Pubs Open Again?

On the 12th April we saw the return of hospitality venues with outdoors table service. This will be followed by May 17th for indoor table service and finally June 21st to remove all limits on social contact, meaning nightclubs and large events can open.

These dates are subject to conditions, however. The vaccine programme needs to continue successfully for starters, with evidence it's reducing deaths and those needing hospital treatment. The infection rates will need to continue to fall, and new Covid variants kept at bay.

What will the rules be when we can go out for a drink?

At current, guests need to order food and drink while seated outside, with many pubs operating apps and barcode scanning make the ordering process easier and contact free. It's not the hardest thing to get used to. Arguably it's made ordering simpler, with less effort required.

Rules will relax more after May 17th, when people are allowed indoors, but the rules of six will apply, and you'll need to book in advanced for the majority of venues.

Finally, from June 21st, all rules will be lifted, and social contact will be allowed once again, allowing for more freedom for the population. It's important to remember that these rules are subject to change depending on whether the conditions are being met, so if you want to be enjoying a drink with friends this summer, keep up the sanitising.

Will Pubs and Bars Be Safe?

Data has shown that hospitality venues are low risk for infection due to businesses investing in and implementing an abundance of protocols to keep sites safe and secure. Keeping customers safe is critical, as it'll boost the number of people who are happy to go out as well as keeping infection rates low. There are a plethora of precautions being taken to ensure customers' safety, such as: spaced-out seating, divider screens, sanitiser dispensers, better air ventilation systems and PPE equipment for staff.

How Can We Support Venues to Reopen?

The hospitality industry suffered greatly in 2020, losing around £72 billion in sales, making it its worst year in recorded history. So, it's no surprise professionals in the business are eager for these venues to reopen.

• Independent grants mean venues can keep their creative and talented teams, make the relevant safety changes, and order in stock to reopen. If you'd like to donate, we've listed charities below that are investing directly into the hospitality sector.

• If you want to support a favourite, individual venue, look out for their take-out services or buy vouchers you can use when they reopen.

• Most of all, and least of all, make sure that if you make a booking for opening night, turn up and spend the money. Before Covid hit, restaurants and bars suffered from people making multiple bookings in one night so they could pick and choose their table. This means venues turn away valuable trade on the expectation you will fulfil the booking and make huge losses if you don't.

Charities supporting the hospitality sector

Whilst we count down the days to reopening the beloved hospitality sector, let's not forget to keep washing our hands, wearing masks and social distancing. That way, we can get back to the pubs and clubs when planned.

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