Insights after Lockdown: The UK

As the world slowly emerges from lockdown and the hospitality sector starts to re-build itself, conversations within the industry turn to safety and survival. ​

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking to industry friends from all over the world about what hospitality life looks like where they are – sharing insights and different approaches to our members for support and guidance. ​

This week, Craig Petrie, Assistant Head Bartender at Scarfes Bar, London, and Alex Taylor, Owner of Pennyroyal bar, Cardiff, spoke to Brand Ambassador, James Bowker, to give us an overview of how the UK looks. Both bars are based in the center of their respective cities and are normally busy with tourists and office workers.​

In a nutshell: Lockdown rules have varied across the UK, with each country (Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England) being responsible for its own policies. In England, for example, from July 4th, venues could open for inside and outdoor drinking and dining, while in Wales, venues could only open from August 3rd.

 

Re-opening safely​

The government has given guidelines (rather than set law) on re-opening and for Alex and the Pennyroyal team, they’ve introduced a selection of safety measures including a reduced seated capacity; traffic light system for the bathrooms; additional personal protective equipment (PPE); sanitizer stations and a maximum table size of four, to ensure only two households meet (another UK policy).

Craig and his team at Scarfes have been working with other venues to share ideas to bring people back to their outlets, realizing that a more joined up approach will benefit all venues. He also highlights that drink delivery services were a massive success, especially for smaller independent businesses, something we highlighted in a piece on lockdown trends a few weeks back.

 

Looking forward:​

At Scarfes, Craig has seen business slowly picking up over the three usual busy nights of the week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and will hopefully see business pick up during the week as city workers feel safe enough to return to their offices. He doesn’t see a return to normal levels of service though while tourism levels are so low. He believes that all safety guidelines must be respected for the foreseeable future, so we don’t hinder the progress of getting back to normality.​

For Alex and team at Pennyroyal, Cardiff Council has been very encouraging to local businesses by being vocal about the need to support venues re-opening and by implementing measures to ensure safety in the city center. If this continues, more customers may be reassured to return to their familiar favorite bars, and Cardiff may also benefit from an increase in domestic tourism.​

The situation in the UK, and across the world, is constantly evolving and it’s too early to see what will happen over the coming weeks, let alone months, but with the right guidelines in place, the industry is hopeful it can start to get back where it was over time.​

Next week, we’ll bring you Insights after Lockdown from Australia.