Our pubs need us, but stopping the spread of covid-19 is more urgent
When I first started to write this article, my mind was 100% set on thinking that not going to the pub in the first month of them re-opening on the 4th of July was absolute. But I have written an argument on why I should go and why I shouldn’t, and now I’m completely undecided. I want to support my local pubs, the breweries they buy from and the industry I love. But I also want to play my part in stopping the spread on Covid-19 which I very much feel is a serious and present threat. So, what should I do? Are we all having the same dilemma? Is it morally right to go and enjoy ourselves when so many people around the world are still dying from the pandemic?
To be perfectly honest, I currently don’t feel comfortable with the idea of sitting in a pub that could potentially contain a handful of Covid-19 carrier’s (unbeknownst to them), sat on the table next to me for several hours. I have no intention of catching this virus and passing it on to those I love, or complete strangers for that matter. I have already sacrificed so much in the name of doing the right thing and I don’t want to undo all the good work so many of us have done by rushing out at the very first opportunity. So, it should be a no brainer, I should stay at home and order beers via the breweries themselves instead of going to the pub. But there are so many reasons why I and many others want and should to go to the pub.
Reasons to go to the pub
First and foremost, I want to support my local pubs and drink new beers. As much as I enjoy drinking new beers at home, I am missing going into a pub, spending time at the bar eyeing up the latest cask beers, craft beers and bottles in the fridge. Socialising with friends and family. I want to get out of the house. I, like lots of other people, have been static for the last 100 days and I want to try and go back to a somewhat normal way of life. But life isn’t normal yet. Not for any of us.
Reasons not to go to the pub
If we all go back to the pubs on the 4th of July, it will be like ringing the dinner bell for the covid virus and allow it to infect and kill more people. I know that the pubs and bars will do everything they can to try and keep us as safe as possible and I really do appreciate that and believe that they will do an incredible job. But, my problem isn’t with the pubs, it’s with Joe public and the attitude many of them have with regards to the pandemic which has been so evident in recent weeks, the mass gathering at Bournemouth beach coming to mind. I, unlike our Government, do not trust the common sense of others. We will all need to take extra precautions when we head to the pub which is no different to heading to the supermarket or the chemist but the pub should be a fun place to go to.
Sadly, not everyone that will be going to the pub from the 4th of July will be as considerate to others as they should be, which will make the experience for many very uncomfortable and potentially put them off going out for a pint of the good stuff in their local. How often have you been in the pub where there are a large group of people having a very loud conversation over one and other, or are completely and utterly pissed and causing a scene? I’m not trying to suggest for one moment that you shouldn’t be able to have fun down the pub, but this is the new normal and things are going to have to change. The usual routine down the pub is going to have to change.
It feels like the moment in the movie JAWS where the Amity Island Committee put precautions in place to keep the beaches open after the terror unleashed itself on the unsuspecting public. I feel like I am one of the by-standing visitors watching the horror unfold in-front of me as people head into the water for some fun, ignorant to the danger lurking below them. I know that there is danger around me but its OK, I’ve been told by the people in charge that its fine to go into the water, i'll be fine.
In the film, the many precautions to stop swimmers from being eaten were all undone when two idiots decided to stick a cardboard fin on their back to scare people. With everyone’s backs turned, the shark was able to thrust on unsuspecting boat goers enjoying the still waters of the pond. The same mistakes are being made with our current situation, and like in JAWS it’s all down to money. Our economy is in serious trouble and although I can appreciate that the Government just want to try and stop it from getting worse, it feels like this is now taking precedent over the public health concerns.
How would you feel safe in the pub?
I’m sure there will be a large percentage of people that will pop to one pub for a few beers, then head off home. But there will be many that will end up doing a pandemic pub-crawl, with the potential of spreading the virus from pub to pub, not giving a shit about anyone. The pubs will do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus but it just takes a few jokers to undo their work by not adhering to the advice. How many of us men have been to the toilet noticed fellow urinal users not washing their hands? I can’t see them changing the habits of a lifetime, can you?
I know there isn’t much you can do when it comes to people’s behaviour, once an inconsiderate idiot, always an inconsiderate idiot, but steps will need to be taken in pubs and bars to keep people safe.
I feel that the pubs, where possible, should have a table service booking system, giving the customer a few hours at the pub before the next seating. That way the team can clean the table throughly making people feel at ease. I think hand sanitiser on the tables would also be a good idea, that way you can limit the transmission on menus, glasses and plates. And mobile ordering with table service would also make me feel more confident and comfortable.
I’ve outlined far more reasons to stay at home than go out so I don’t think I will be one of the first to go to the pub on the 4th of July. More likely I will wait a few weeks after the opening to see if the process is working. It has so far worked for supermarkets and shops and hopefully it’ll work for pubs and taprooms. I really want them to succeed and prosper…but my wish for Covid-19 to disappear is greater. I will always continue to support my favourite breweries, buying beer directly from them and from local bottle shops. I have already spent more in 2020 on beer than I have in the whole of 2019 and we are only in July. I urge you to continue to buy your beers from the breweries and bottle shops in conjunction with visiting the pub.
I definitely don’t have anything against any pubs that have decided to open up on the 4th of July. I know that the hospitality industry has been hit severely during the crisis and it really does suck. If the pubs feel that they can keep their staff and customers safe than that’s up to them and I respect and understand their judgement. I will go back to the pub, but not quite yet and not at the expense of others. Like my father waiting for Tottenham Hotspur to win a trophy, I can wait, and I will.