THOUSANDS of Brits are sinking pints from the pub again as more and more enterprising landlords offer take-outs.
Punters are keeping two metres apart in queues before being served by staff wearing PPE – in accordance with government guidance.
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But industry leaders want social distancing reduced from two metres to one when they fully reopen to keep more of our 47,000 boozers afloat.
It is feared only 20 per cent could reopen if the restriction remains. Emma McClarkin, boss of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “A one-metre rule would put the majority of pubs back in play.”
The Boathouse in Wylam, Northumberland, is among those doing a roaring lockdown trade.
Landlord Mark Weatherburn, 44, said: “Last Saturday I sold 60 gallons, almost 700 pints, in one day, and that was just lager.
“I have a fantastic location by the river which helps. At a time like this, it’s important for people to feel happy – and beer makes people happy.”
Johnny Sayers, 46, sells beer in two-pint cartons from the car park of The Swan in Addingham, West Yorks.
He said: “Once you have opened it you have to drink it quite quick so people are coming back regularly.”
Meanwhile, locals in Exeter have flocked to the Topsham Brewery to buy hundreds of takeaway “growlers”, which help keep the fizz.
Co-owner Jason Virok said he makes no profit on the £17 two-litre flasks but it was vital to keep sales going.
He said: “We’ve sold 300 growlers in the last few weeks. Our locals love ‘em.”
The sun also helps sales, and punters were seen queuing round the block today for booze and pizza in Bournemouth.
At a time like this, it’s important for people to feel happy – and beer makes people happy.
Landlord Mark Weatherburn
Along the coast in Brighton takeaway pints were being sunk on the beach.
Among the crowds were pals Florence Crane, 30, and Amy Arnold, 25, meeting for the first time since lockdown, and toasting it with a drink. Florence said: “It’s great to catch up.”
It was a similar story in the capital, where pubs including The Gatehouse in posh Highgate, North London, were serving huge flasks of booze.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Real Ale has successfully launched a beer delivery app, with more than 200 outlets signed up.
Brew2You allows users to buy beer, cider and perry from local producers and pubs and has already generated £20,000.
CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “It’s a lifeline for an industry that has been devastated by the lockdown.”
The earliest date that pubs can fully reopen is July 4.
But leading Oxford scientist Prof Sunetra Gupta said pubs and restaurants could open now without posing a risk. She called for a “rapid exit” from lockdown as the virus was “on the way out”.
The British Beer and Pub Association is pushing for the 27,000 pubs with beer gardens to open as soon as possible.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what social distancing measures they might be able to put in place to make that work.”
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