British pub showcases revamped design to meet distancing guidelines

18 May, 2020

A British bar owner has created a prototype layout that would allow his pub to reopen this summer at around 75% of its usual capacity.

The Betsey Wynne pub in Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire, would use glazed screens to separate groups of drinkers in snugs.

They would use disposable menus and order using a phone app, while a one-way system with a separate entrance and exit is designed to keep guests apart.

The pub normally has a capacity of 204, and this system would allow it to welcome up to 146 guests at a time.

Peter Borg-Neal, founder and chief executive of Oakman Inns, which owns the pub along with 27 other establishments, said this prototype would only work in venues with large outdoor seating areas.

He is now planning to submit the scheme to the British government for approval, and he hopes it could benefit fellow bar owners

“There’s two key priorities: number one to protect employees and number two to protect customers,” he told Sky News. “We have studied all the advice from the government and we have worked really hard to comply with it.

“I think the general mood I am getting is people want to come back. People can't make sense of why you can't sit in a pub garden with a beer but you can go on the London Underground. It doesn’t seem to make a blind bit of sense.”

The Cabinet Office ruled that the on-trade cannot reopen until July 4 at the earliest as the UK slowly begins to ease its lockdown. 

Borg-Neal said his pubs are ready to be safely opened as soon as possible, and added that the prototype design ensures customers will still enjoy a sense of hospitality, while remain safe and practicing sensible distancing.

“Beyond the spacing, you are talking about advice to the customers, lots of opportunities to sanitise their hands, things like disposable menus,” he said. “It’s going to be table service only, no standing at the bar. There's going to be an order app.

“We have to meet standards for food hygiene, health and safety and fire. Just tell us to meet the Covid-19 standards and leave it to us.

“As far as we are concerned we have a number of pubs that can be safely opened now.”

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