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Your pub and hospitality experience as the Covid restrictions ease

al78

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Based on my recent experience in the Scottish highlands:

Eating out, one place in Fort William had social distancing in place and I had to wait outside until space bacame available (on a chair underneath a canopy outside, and could order a drink whilst waiting, so no big deal). Most places (serving evening meals) required signing in with the covid app. No issues with my pre-booked B&Bs (at Kinloch Hourn and Inverinate). After having to reschedule on the fly I had to stay a night in FW and was able to walk up to a place with vacancies which then offered me a room, no issues with covid. At breakfast in the Travelodge in Glasgow, table service only.
 
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Freightmaster

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After having to reschedule on the fly I had to stay a night in FW and was able to walk up to a place with vacancies which then offered me a room...
I read that as vaccines - I've obviously been reading too many Covid threads! :oops:


Back on topic, around here (north Lancashire), pubs are definitely more 'easy going' lately with
the Track and Trace being more of a vague suggestion than a requirement.





MARK
 

island

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I had an interesting one yesterday where a pub allowed us to order at the bar (behind a perspex screen). I ordered my pint, paid up, and by the time I paid my pint was placed on the bar. I naturally went to pick it up, whereupon I was told I couldn't - it had to be brought to the table I was sat at.

Cue a slightly farcical scene where I walked to the table and three steps behind was the barman carrying my pint.

I'm not sure how this stopped the spread of a deadly virus, but oh well.
That was illegal, assuming you were in England. Pubs are required to only accept orders from patrons who are seated at a table.
 

kristiang85

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That was illegal, assuming you were in England. Pubs are required to only accept orders from patrons who are seated at a table.

Yes I thought so too. But the day before we were allowed a table of 8 indoors... so I think there is a lot 'flexibility' being shown by venues. And good on them.
 

Jamesrob637

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A pub near me accepts orders and payments at the bar however the drinks are brought to the table.

Is this "table service" defined?
 
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Regarding "table service" - if alcohol in served in the premises then ordering must be done at the table and service must be to that table by staff

The guidance page at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working...-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery states:

"If your venue serves alcohol, table service will be required. Even if no alcohol is ordered, this means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated."
"If your venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. But they must consume food and drink while seated at a table."

The relevant SI seems to be The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021

PART 2 Closure of, and restrictions on, businesses

Restrictions on service of food and drink for consumption on the premises

7.—(1) A person responsible for carrying on a restricted business, or providing a restricted service, in the Step 3 area which serves alcohol for consumption on the premises may sell food or drink for consumption on the premises only if—

(a)the food or drink is ordered by, and served to, a customer who is seated on the premises, and
(b)the person takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises.

(2) A person responsible for carrying on a restricted business, or providing a restricted service, in the Step 3 area which does not serve alcohol for consumption on the premises may sell food or drink for consumption on the premises only if the person takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises.
 

52290

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I'm in a Thwaites pub drinking a pint of Freedom Ale, an excellent beer by the way. Has anybody else come across any special beers brewed for the postponed day of freedom.
 

scrapy

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A pub near me accepts orders and payments at the bar however the drinks are brought to the table.

Is this "table service" defined?
The law does allow payment to be made at the bar (some card machines aren't portable or lose signal) but technically the order should be placed at the table with the customer going to the bar to pay. Again how this is better for the spread of the virus, who knows?
 

WelshBluebird

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The law does allow payment to be made at the bar (some card machines aren't portable or lose signal) but technically the order should be placed at the table with the customer going to the bar to pay. Again how this is better for the spread of the virus, who knows?
The thinking will be so you don't get large numbers of people all waiting at the bar to be served (as you usually would at a pub back in the day!).
 

DelayRepay

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The thinking will be so you don't get large numbers of people all waiting at the bar to be served (as you usually would at a pub back in the day!).
By the time this is all over, I think most of us will have forgotten how to get served at a busy bar!
 

TravelDream

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I'm not quite used to bars too. I've only been to a few this year so far.

The one I have been to most often is my local Wetherpoons. I know it's the Euros, but my local Spoons has basically every draught beer out of stock. A fair few of the bottles are out too, though food in generally reasonable.

I am a big fan of the app as well. It's easier than heading to the bar and queuing for 10-20 minutes at busier times like pre-Covid and table service is just more convenient.
 

WelshBluebird

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The one I have been to most often is my local Wetherpoons. I know it's the Euros, but my local Spoons has basically every draught beer out of stock. A fair few of the bottles are out too, though food in generally reasonable.

I've noticed something similar with a lot of places (not every one out of stock, but certainly less of a choice than normal). I assume this is just down to the stop and start nature of their business atm - aka they don't want to risk getting a lot of barrels (or boxes of cider) in and started incase they have to close pretty soon after!
 

Jamiescott1

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I've noticed something similar with a lot of places (not every one out of stock, but certainly less of a choice than normal). I assume this is just down to the stop and start nature of their business atm - aka they don't want to risk getting a lot of barrels (or boxes of cider) in and started incase they have to close pretty soon after!

I think alot of this is also down to the shortage of both hgv staff and those who work in food and drink production.
I work in hospitality and a lot of prepared food products (such as breads, pies) are unavailable.
I'm sure this will hit pubs and restaurants a lot more soon too
 

Nicholas Lewis

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By the time this is all over, I think most of us will have forgotten how to get served at a busy bar!
Good its much more pleasurable to place an order at the table and for it to be bought to you rather than jostling for attention at a crammed bar. Its fairer all round for customers and for staff not receiving abuse at the bar.
 

kristiang85

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I think alot of this is also down to the shortage of both hgv staff and those who work in food and drink production.
I work in hospitality and a lot of prepared food products (such as breads, pies) are unavailable.
I'm sure this will hit pubs and restaurants a lot more soon too

Yes, I think it's a combination of all factors listed, but speaking to a bar owner recently he said the reduced menu for both food and drink was just to hedge against any sudden changes in the situation - he's been burned twice now. But what you say seems to be a big factor too that a lot of people don't realise. Certainly supermarkets are seeming a little bit threadbare at times too, I've noticed.

Also somebody told me the other day that the Suez blockage is still affecting imports of goods all these weeks on; I'm not sure if this includes food, but that could contribute to it.

Good its much more pleasurable to place an order at the table and for it to be bought to you rather than jostling for attention at a crammed bar. Its fairer all round for customers and for staff not receiving abuse at the bar.

Personally I find it a lot more pleasurable going to the bar, especially in the craft beer type places where the barman is essential for recommendations and the odd tasting if its quiet, but then again I tend to avoid crazy busy pubs these days.
 

Mojo

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I noticed big stock shortages at Wetherspoons too in the past month when I’ve visited. One branch (in North Wales) had run out of burgers, not very good when it’s probably their most commonly sold food item!
 

Scotrail314209

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One of my local bars put up a post on Facebook saying they would be shut yesterday and today, purely to sanitize the bar and allow staff to take a COVID test.

Perhaps all businesses should close for a day or so once a month, and just have a good clean. The bar in question has been very busy since Scottish restrictions eased.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Personally I find it a lot more pleasurable going to the bar, especially in the craft beer type places where the barman is essential for recommendations and the odd tasting if its quiet, but then again I tend to avoid crazy busy pubs these days.
Thats a fair point although good cask beer places ive been frequenting the staff employed all pretty knowledgable on whats on offer and they both have the online ordering arrangements managed dynamically so you always know whats available.

So on reflection it will be good if table or bar ordering is a choice although i suspect for many places the table service will be dropped as soon as its allowed as i acknowledge it is a financial burden especially at quieter times of the day for landlords.
 

Dai Corner

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One of my local bars put up a post on Facebook saying they would be shut yesterday and today, purely to sanitize the bar and allow staff to take a COVID test.

Perhaps all businesses should close for a day or so once a month, and just have a good clean. The bar in question has been very busy since Scottish restrictions eased.
Possibly they've had to close, sanitize and get staff tested because a customer or staff member has tested positive.
 

_toommm_

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Currently at The Sidings, next to Bristol Temple Meads. It’s table service throughout and they’ve just reopened yesterday, but really impressed with it as a whole, and if I’m ever back in Bristol I’d definitely go here again. Guy behind the gnat is really nice and it’s got some good beers too.
 

Kite159

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Went to a local pub in Andover for a family meal today, but left as they demanded to see ID for Track & Trace if you don't use the pointless App, and who carries ID with them on a regular event?

Went to another pub where the staff were a lot more friendier and welcoming
 

Iskra

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I noticed big stock shortages at Wetherspoons too in the past month when I’ve visited. One branch (in North Wales) had run out of burgers, not very good when it’s probably their most commonly sold food item!
Demand is all over the place at the moment with the Euro’s, wildly changing weather and changing customer habits due to Corona which means that businesses aren’t able to accurately predict sales and therefore order the right stock (if it exists) as effectively as they could in normal times.

June is normally the quietest month of the year for my two businesses, but I’ve just had two cracking weeks for sales, beating pre-covid sales, all while operating at 30% of my normal seating capacity- who would have expected that? All it takes is the weather forecast to be wrong and you’ve ordered all the wrong stock, and I order 3 days in advance so things can change between ordering and the day it is delivered. If the weather is hot food sales crash but beverage sales soar and vice versa.

Also, if it’s an automated ordering system, sudden peaks and troughs can confuse these systems and make them do strange things.
 

L401CJF

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Me and the Mrs went to The Cheshire Cat just outside Chester about a week after they opened for lunch. Only one guy serving tables inside and out so it was a bit slow, completely forgot about scanning that barcode thingy and wernt reminded or chased up over it and only realised when we got home.

Food was alright, not as good as the last time we went but i don't think that was covid related!

The pub over the road from mine (a green king??) is another story. Service was horrendous pre covid and is even worse now. Order a carvery and they will call you to go up and get yours when it's your turn. Problem is they never call you, if half the table has ordered off the menu their food will arrive, but those with a carvery ticket still not been called! You can ask as many staff as you like when it'll be your turn, they say they'll ask but never come back, eventually you'll ask somebody else and theyll says it's fine to go up now - usually when the rest of the table has finished their meal, and you then get to the carvery counter and asked why you're there and have you been called! Speaking to other people waiting at the counter for their carvery, they had all been in the same boat waiting and asking to eventually be told to go up, to then be told they shouldn't be there!

It was poor service pre covid, the same story when the pubs first reopened, and the same story now!
 

Furryanimal

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Not tried a pub but my local Boswells cafe you just have to fill in a track and trace form with name,phone number and arrival time.I note they have stopped actually checking what you put on the form and you now put in it a receptacle box not hand it over.You could be putting anything on the form!
And it gets very busy towards lunchtime.Not so when I’m in at 8am for breakfast.
Excellent service and food...but my Boswells only opened last Summer so I’ve never known it ‘normal’.
 

davews

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We popped into John Lewis in Oxford Street on Saturday when we broke off from the march. You can enter the shop (unmasked but I do have an exemption) unchallenged, wander anywhere you like in the shop, and when you enter the cafe (via a strange entry/exit system that you are guaranteed to follow the wrong way) you are shown to a suitable table. But the minute you go to the counter to order your drinks you are immediately told to scan the QR code or in my case give your name and number. What is it about this virus which only seems to lurk at that counter in the multi storey shop?...
 

_toommm_

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We popped into John Lewis in Oxford Street on Saturday when we broke off from the march. You can enter the shop (unmasked but I do have an exemption) unchallenged, wander anywhere you like in the shop, and when you enter the cafe (via a strange entry/exit system that you are guaranteed to follow the wrong way) you are shown to a suitable table. But the minute you go to the counter to order your drinks you are immediately told to scan the QR code or in my case give your name and number. What is it about this virus which only seems to lurk at that counter in the multi storey shop?...

Because John Lewis, as with any company, is required to do track and trace for indoor eating; but isn’t required to browse products.
 

bramling

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A couple of recent experiences for us:

1) We used a Brewer's Fayre twice whilst staying in the adjacent Premier Inn. On the first night the place was virtually empty (it was fairly late), despite this we were seated pretty much adjacent to almost the only other occupied table in the entire restaurant, which felt rather silly and we asked to move (more for privacy reasons than Covid!), though I'm not sure they were overly happy about it. On the second night it was busier, so we had the dreaded "have you booked?", told we would need to come back in half an hour. Not an issue, however when we did come back we were seated in a table which had been vacant at the time we initially turned up, which was curious, though we weren't too bothered. Table service only, which was reasonably normal. Weren't asked to give any details on either night.

2) Indian restaurant, pretty much zero Covid measures at all, tables in their pre-2020 configuration as far as we could tell, and all tables in use. The only thing which seemed different was having to give a name and contact number on a post-it note.
 

VauxhallandI

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Went to a pub in the City last week and they were terrible.

The young girl seemed very put out that I wasn't going to use the app. She completed it on her computer and to lighten the mood I said "Just please don't call before 10am" to which she replied "Don't worry I wouldn't call". If she thought I was chatting her up she was most mistaken. They then put us on a very small table that was supposed to be for 6. When the others came we asked to move as we had reserved two table next to each other and this could happen where we had been put. The girl said fine and found the other tables for us. As we walked to them some bloke barked at one of my colleagues about moving tables; he was put in his his place.

They then couldn't arrange anyone to serve; someone came over to say they were short staffed and it would be another 10 mins to take the order. Two of our party promptly left to go to another meet up that they were planning to go to later.

Myself and one other then had to leave to good somewhere else as well and as I walked past the bar to leave another bar bloke barked at me about a mask to which I told him I was exempt.

I won't be going back there again.
 

WelshBluebird

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1) We used a Brewer's Fayre twice whilst staying in the adjacent Premier Inn. On the first night the place was virtually empty (it was fairly late), despite this we were seated pretty much adjacent to almost the only other occupied table in the entire restaurant, which felt rather silly and we asked to move (more for privacy reasons than Covid!), though I'm not sure they were overly happy about it. On the second night it was busier, so we had the dreaded "have you booked?", told we would need to come back in half an hour. Not an issue, however when we did come back we were seated in a table which had been vacant at the time we initially turned up, which was curious, though we weren't too bothered. Table service only, which was reasonably normal. Weren't asked to give any details on either night.
I was at a beefeater (owned by the same company) with a friend and his wife the other week (wasn't my choice - they have a young one and wanted to play it safe with where we went) and that very much matched your first night experience. Empty restaurant except for us and the table next to us. I guess it makes sense from a staff point of view - only one section of the place they need to keep an eye on!
2) Indian restaurant, pretty much zero Covid measures at all, tables in their pre-2020 configuration as far as we could tell, and all tables in use. The only thing which seemed different was having to give a name and contact number on a post-it note.
Given it was an Indian restaurant I assume it was an independent place (I've always been a little confused by how you don't really see chain Indian or chain Chinese places like you do with other foods like Pizza, Italian, etc etc) and I have noticed that in general the chains have been more heavy handed than smaller places. Maybe a mix of independent places being more reliant on getting as many people through the door (of course chains are too - but its a little less direct) and chains being a bit more wary of potential impact to their brand if they have a headline story of them breaking the regulations?

Went to a pub in the City last week and they were terrible.

The young girl seemed very put out that I wasn't going to use the app. She completed it on her computer and to lighten the mood I said "Just please don't call before 10am" to which she replied "Don't worry I wouldn't call". If she thought I was chatting her up she was most mistaken. They then put us on a very small table that was supposed to be for 6. When the others came we asked to move as we had reserved two table next to each other and this could happen where we had been put. The girl said fine and found the other tables for us. As we walked to them some bloke barked at one of my colleagues about moving tables; he was put in his his place.

They then couldn't arrange anyone to serve; someone came over to say they were short staffed and it would be another 10 mins to take the order. Two of our party promptly left to go to another meet up that they were planning to go to later.

Myself and one other then had to leave to good somewhere else as well and as I walked past the bar to leave another bar bloke barked at me about a mask to which I told him I was exempt.

I won't be going back there again.

Not that this is a defense of poor service (and it sounds like the service you got was very poor and I certainly am not surprised that you don't want to go there again) - hospitality staff are currently being utterly shafted. Overworked, understaffed and underpaid, whilst at the same time probably now being the main group of workers outside of health and care workers who are most likely to end up with COVID (and thus either actually get ill, or at the very least have to self isolate). It isn't a surprise the poor woman didn't react well to you making a joke at her expense. Especially something along those lines which she probably has heard time and time again (such jokes stop being funny after the 100th time!).
 

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