The fifteen week shutdown of our pubs is due to come to an end on Saturday 4 July. This does not mean that all pubs will reopen on that day. I suspect that in the city it will only be the minority that reopen on Saturday. Some will delay a few days but some licensees may feel that that their pubs can’t yet open safely.
Being in a pub with friends and family has been one of the things we have missed the most during lock-down so it’s fantastic news that once again we can. This comes with the responsibility to do so safely. We urge you all to follow the Public Health England guidelines and keep yourselves, fellow pub-goers and bar staff safe. If you believe that you can visit a pub safely, please do so. Pubs need our custom to help them through this difficult time.
Pubs will certainly not be the same as when we were last in them. Each licensee will have looked at their pub anew having read the government’s guidance and reassessed risks accordingly. To give you an idea as to what you might find, CAMRA has put together some advice, hints and tips on using pubs responsibly and safely, in line with government guidance. You can find it here under the tab “CAMRA’s advice for consumers on getting back to the pub”. If you prefer it as a single page of bullet points that you can print it’s here.
For a while many pubs that do reopen will have revised opening times. Social distancing rules will apply. Propping up the bar will not return yet and tables will be more spread out. There will be greater use of outside space; for some it will be the only option. This will be easier for many village pubs, which often have larger beer gardens and car parks, than it will be for many city pubs. Outdoor seating may include tables in the street provided that it can be done safely and a licence has been applied for. The county council is waiving the application fee to make the process easier. Information on how licensees can apply for a licence to have tables on the public highway is here.
Wouldn’t it be great if the licensees of tenanted pubs had the option to boost trade by selling beer and cider from small, local and independent producers? Many tenants think so. CAMRA does too and has started a Cheers to Choice petition. Please sign the petition to improve choice for pub-goers and to make sure that all parts of the beer and pubs industry are supported in the tough weeks ahead.
Where to find information
During the shutdown we have maintained an information page on our website to help you find which of our pubs have been doing beer and food takeaways and which local breweries and cidermakers can satisfy your needs. Now that pubs are reopening this page will no longer be needed. The brewery and cidermaker information has now been incorporated into specific pages on our website. Pub information, including reopening date, revised opening times etc. is now on a new page and also appears on the pub’s WhatPub entry. Keeping these up to date is a big challenge for local CAMRA volunteers. You can help by being our eyes and ears and keeping us informed either via WhatPub’s submit updates feature or by email.
During the shutdown we also paused production of our ALE magazine. We know that it was avidly read by many but for the time being, to avoid transmission risks, it will not be returning. We are also planning a bit of a revamp for when it does return. Our website has an archive of past ALE editions. Something else that can’t return for the time being are our monthly open meetings in pubs. During the shutdown they have continued, on the second Tuesday of the month, mostly as Zoom meetings. These will continue. If you would like to attend please email Steve, our branch secretary.
As well as updating webpages and running an online beer festival your branch has also talked with several of our pub licensees. We held a Zoom meeting and listened to their shutdown experiences. We also asked for their views and ideas on what CAMRA locally and nationally can do to help pubs get back on their feet. They were confident that local communities could and would support the village pubs and help them bounce back (don’t disappoint them) but that in the city, tenanted pubs, free houses and pubs run by small local brewers needed most help. We are therefore planning an event later in the year to encourage you to discover and rediscover these pubs.
If you haven’t yet viewed the Cambridge Beer Festival online sessions they are now available via YouTube.
Tuesday 14 July. Virtual branch meeting and social, from 8pm. This meeting will be held on Zoom. Please email Steve, our branch secretary, if you’d like to attend.
Tuesday 11 August from 8pm. Monthly open branch meeting and social.
Tuesday 8 September from 8pm. Monthly open branch meeting and social.
The health of each other, our family, friends and our communities is incredibly important. Please support our NHS and continue to follow the advice given by Public Health England.