BRADFORD publicans have called for clarity from the Government after the latest prediction that pubs and bars could reopen from July 4.
The speculation came during a debate in the House of Commons when environment secretary George Eustice said the hospitality sector would “hopefully” be able to gradually start opening during the month of July.
The minister warned the next steps for the hospitality industry will be “subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move”.
Peter Down, deputy chairman of Bradford CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), feels pubs and bars need a “definite plan” before reopening.
Mr Down said: “We need that clear idea from the Government
“They shut everything down, they told the pubs to shut. Now we can open up but let everybody fend for themselves.
“”They need to think about the smaller pubs, about how they can possibly open with social distancing. There needs to be some flexibility on the social distancing.
“It’s practically impossible without breaking the rules.”
William Wagstaff, who owns the Beehive, Shipley Pride and Jacob’s Well, says pubs also will need time to reorder stock from breweries and prepare their spaces to fit the two metre distancing rule.
He said: “We need to open at some point. The economy has got to get going again and we have to find a way to deliver what the Government intends with these new rules on social distancing.
“Pubs are places where people get together, that’s the nature of them. It’s a close community for people to connect. It’s a great social scene.
“We need to know in advance. The brewery orders need to go in.
“We need to know by the first week of June.”
And while Mr Wagstaff is optimistic his larger pubs can be adapted, he worries about smaller venues who might struggle to make reopening economically viable.
Keith Wildman, who owns the Record Cafe on North Parade, said it will be difficult to serve the same amount of customers he normally would with just 12 square metres per person allowed in his venue.
“I always had it in my head it might be Autumn by the time we’d be going to reopen”, he said.
“July does seem a bit early. The key thing is in what capacity. If we start to introduce social distancing, for a lot of places it wouldn’t be worth opening. It’s the logistics.”
Mr Wildman explained: “You don’t know if people are going to be too worried to go back out. The tough thing could be getting people out in the first place. It’s very well saying ‘You’ve got to social distance’, the challenge could be convincing people that you can go out.
“It’s such a worrying time. It’s the not knowing. We’ve just got to take things day by day.”