Another week has passed and we’ve plucked up the courage to ‘venture forth’. I was beginning to believe I would never see anything beyond the supermarket and the ice-cream van in some car-park, so I ‘bit the bullet’ and booked a table at my favourite eating-pub.
On entering we had to wait until the landlord guided us to a table. He asked for our telephone number, in case it appeared later that another customer contracted the virus, so we could be contacted to self-isolate. As it is supposed to be, no-one was standing at the bar and there was one door ‘in’ and another ‘out’, with notices advising on using the toilets. When an adjacent table was vacated, it was thoroughly cleaned immediately. Even those who were not eating were not allowed in unless a table was free.
The landlord told me that although he had had received reams of documentation from various sources, very little was useful advice on how he should prepare the pub for re-opening. Further to that there was no inspection to say he could open and was clearly told that there was unlikely to be any special visits from ‘ Environmental Health’. The measures he has taken e.g. perspex screens and fewer tables were at his own expense..
Having ordered our drinks and shortly after, our meals, things proceeded as normal and we left feeling satisfied and reassured.
Not having been to a pub just to drink and chat with friends I visited one of my usual haunts that same evening. I must declare at this point that I only entered the bar and have no notion of what went on in those rooms at either end where food is served. However it appears that there is an ‘in’ door and an ‘out’ door, but I was just lucky to pick the correct one. Although there are arrows on the floor in the bar which is between the ‘eating’ rooms I spoke of, they were totally disregarded by people passing from trips to the toilet who probably should have gone the outside route.
I was not asked for my telephone number on entering and, after mentioning this, I was directed to a sign-in sheet on the bar itself. There were only a handful of customers in that room, but, even s,o there were people standing at the bar (including me), which I believed to be a no-no. I don’t know for sure, but I cannot imagine there being any semblance of social-distancing in that room at the weekend even 1 metre+. I certainly will not visit there at busy times, but will have to take my chance on a night when it is as quiet as when I visited, as I enjoy the customers and staff.
Considering the eatery I visited has had sales 60% lower than usual and both places were closed for such a long period, it is no surprise that beer prices are higher, but the food prices were not noticeably higher there, but that does not seem to be true everywhere. The government has promised to recompense eateries for charging 50% less on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.
I know of several people who are still afraid to eat-out or visit a pub; particularly older, but not nearly as old as me. Most younger folk don’t seem too bothered.
Face masks Since yesterday, it has been compulsory to wear a face mask (or other facial covering) in all shops and sandwich bars (with a few people with conditions and children under 11 excepted). The intention being to protect the other people if you should cough or sneeze not to protect yourself.
As you would expect, there are those who see this as a breach of their rights, as was the case with car seat-belt wearing and smoking indoors. There is a fine of £100 for non-compliance and the police complain they have better things to do. The shops themselves have no compulsion to enforce the law and indeed some supermarkets have stated that they won’t. The medical advice, on type of mask, with correct use and treatment of it, are complex and probably not understood to be important by some. However at my supermarket yesterday everybody seemed to be wearing a re-usable mask, more or less correctly.