Pubs with beer gardens will be allowed to open in a fortnight’s time, as the government looks to speed up the reopening of some industries hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown.
Lifting restrictions on pubs with outdoor spaces will allow around 27,000 of the UK’s 47,000 watering holes to reopen, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
The hospitality sector was not due to open until July 4 but this will now be brought forward to June 22 for pubs and restaurants that can serve customers outdoors, the Financial Times has reported.
It was reported that six ministers were looking at this plan, among other measures, to “save summer”, though 10 Downing Street stressed that no firm date has yet been set.
The BBPA said last month it was working with the government to consider all the possible options for re-opening pubs as soon as possible in a safe way while meeting social distancing restrictions, suggesting at the time that pubs with beer gardens would be best placed.
“There are problems here as 1) you wouldn’t be able to order, brew and deliver any beers quickly enough to get them into cellars and 2) what do you do about toilets?” said analyst Mark Brumby at Langton Capital.
“Staff will need to be brought back from furlough, units will need to be cleaned and, well, the grass will need to be cut, the tables and chairs scrubbed down and the like.”
Shares in JD Wetherspoon (LON:JDW), where almost 700 of its 867 pubs have a beer garden or other outdoor space, were up 3% by Monday lunchtime, while Mitchells & Butler’s (LON:MAB) was up 16%, Marston’s (LON:MARS) was up 10%, Young’s (LON:YNGA) was up 2%, City Pub (LON:CPC) was up 4% and Fuller’s (LON:FSTA) was down 1%.